Mpox is a public health concern relevant to all people. Mpox is a rare disease caused by infection with the mpox virus. Mpox is part of the same family of viruses that cause smallpox, and is not related to chickenpox. Mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and mpox is rarely fatal.
Mpox was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Despite being named “mpox,” the source of the disease remains unknown.
Signs and Symptoms
Some people with mpox may get a rash on various parts of the body.
- The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing
- The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy
Some people with mpox may also experience symptoms like the flu, with fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes, and general body aches. They may also be limited to one part of the body. People with mpox may experience all or only a few of these symptoms
Mpox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later.
Mpox can be spread 1-4 days before symptoms appear until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
What to do if you have had an exposure or symptoms?
Students should report a positive mpox test/diagnosis by clicking here. A member of the CSUF TitanMED clinical team will contact impacted students with self-isolation and “return to campus” instructions. The self-isolation period depends on symptomology and healing process. Typically, people with mpox should anticipate self-isolating for 14-21 days.
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. Students can schedule appointments with a TitanMED provider M-F through their Titan Health Portal or by calling 657-278-2800.
- TitanMED providers have been updated in identifying and treating mpox
- The TitanMED Laboratory is prepared to collect and send samples for testing
Additionally, it’s important to notify your close contacts that they may have been exposed to mpox as soon as possible. If you are unable to notify your close contacts, CSUF TitanMED or your local health department may be able to help you without disclosing your information. A close contact is anyone, since the start of your mpox symptoms that you:
- Have had sex with; this includes oral, anal, and vaginal sex
- Have hugged, cuddled, or kissed
- Shared cups, utensils, towels, clothing, bedding, blankets, or other objects and materials with
- Have touched or who came in contact with the rash on your body
How is Mpox spread?
Mpox spreads in a few ways. A person with mpox can spread it 1-4 days before symptoms appear until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
- Mpox can spread through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
- Direct contact with mpox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with mpox
- Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with mpox
- Contact with respiratory secretions, such as snot and mucus
- This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:
- Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) of a person with mpox
- Hugging, massage, and kissing
- Prolonged face-to-face contact
- Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with mpox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys
- A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta and during and after birth
Mpox is NOT spread through casual, brief conversations or walking by someone with mpox, like in a hallway or grocery store.
Is Mpox a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?
Mpox may look like sexually transmitted infections that cause a rash on the genitals and anus, including herpes and syphilis. Mpox may also cause rectal pain, which can be seen in other STIs as well. Scientists are investigating whether the virus could be spread by exposure to semen or vaginal fluids, but this has not been previously known to be how the virus spreads. It's always important to talk to a health care provider as soon as you notice unusual rashes or sores or have rectal pain.
There are number of ways to prevent the spread of mpox, including:
1. Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like mpox.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with mpox
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with mpox
2. Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with mpox has used.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with mpox
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with mpox
3. Wash your hands often.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom
The CDC recommends vaccination against mpox if:
- You have been identified by public health officials as a contact of someone with mpox
- You are aware that one of your sexual partners in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with mpox
- You have had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known mpox
- You work a job that may expose you to orthopoxviruses , such as:
- Laboratory workers who perform testing for orthopoxviruses
- Laboratory workers who handle cultures or animals with orthopoxviruses
- Some designated healthcare or public health workers
Vaccination helps to protect against mpox when given before or shortly after an exposure. In the United States, JYNNEOS and ACAM2000 are two mpox vaccines currently available via the Strategic National Stockpile. At this time, the federal government has allocated a limited number of JYNNEOS vaccine doses to California.
In Orange County, the Orange County Health Care Agency is making the vaccine available to those identified at highest risk and appointments can be scheduled at the Othena website . As vaccine supply is very limited, the Health Care Agency suggests that people check back daily on the Othena website for appointment availability. If you are not currently in Orange County, check with your local health department for vaccine availability.
CSUF TitanMED provides the JYNNEOS mpox vaccine series to currently enrolled CSUF students for FREE by making an appointment.
There are no treatments specifically for mpox virus infections. However, mpox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat mpox virus infections.
Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.
If you have symptoms of mpox , you should talk to your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has mpox.
Most people with mpox recover fully within 2 to 4 weeks without the need for medical treatment.
Mpox Resources and Updates
We are working closely with the Orange County Health Care Agency to keep the campus prepared, informed and healthy. For more information about mpox:
- Orange County Health Care Agency
- California Department of Public Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- California Department of Public Health Q&A
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 Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) and You@Fullerton.