Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox is part of the same family of viruses that cause smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox might start with symptoms like the flu, with fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes, and general body aches. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the person can develop a rash or sores.
How does Monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox spreads primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing, hugging, massaging, and cuddling. Monkeypox can spread through touching materials used by a person with monkeypox that haven’t been cleaned, such as clothing and bedding. It can also spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, close, face-to-face contact. Monkeypox is not spread through casual brief conversations or walking by someone with monkeypox.
Signs and symptoms
What to do if you have had an exposure or symptoms
If you have had an exposure, have symptoms you are concerned about, or need to speak with someone about your risk, please reach out to your primary care provider. Most providers can now do testing for monkeypox through commercial laboratories.
Students can schedule appointments with their Student Health Center providers Monday - Friday through their Student Health Portal or speak with someone after-hours and weekends by calling the 24/7 Nurse Advice Line. Student Health Center providers and staff have been trained in identifying monkeypox, and the laboratory is prepared to collect and send samples for testing.
There are plans for isolation spaces for students living on campus who contract monkeypox and need to self-isolate until the infectious period has passed.
Vaccination helps to protect against monkeypox when given before or shortly after an exposure. The vaccine is administered in a two-dose series.
How can I get vaccinated?
To get vaccinated, you must attest that you meet any of the criteria for those at highest risk by going to the Othena website, where you can also book an appointment for vaccination. Due to limited vaccine supply, booking an appointment is preferred; however, walk-ins will be taken care of so long as there is vaccine available that day.
OCHCA is providing 1st and 2nd doses of Jynneos vaccine (for Monkeypox) as follows:
Every Wednesday and Friday in September, as well as October 5th and 7th.
Time: 10.00 am – 7.00 pm
Venue: SSA Central Regional Office (2020 W. Walnut Street, Santa Ana 92703).
If you are not currently in Orange County, check with your local health department for vaccine availability. UCI’s Student Health Center is working to secure the vaccine to have on hand for the campus student community as soon as it becomes available.
Vaccine information was last updated September 12, 2022. For the most current information, visit the OCHCA website.
We understand that news of a new infectious disease on top of the last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic can be concerning and result in feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Campus mental health resources are available through the Counseling Center and the Student Health Center. Faculty and staff may seek support through the Employee Assistance Program.
UCI continues to work closely with the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA) to keep the campus prepared, informed, and healthy.