Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus (monkeypox virus) not commonly seen in the United States. Monkeypox can cause a rash which may look like pimples or blisters, sometimes with a flu-like illness. While CDC works to contain the current outbreak and learn more about the virus, it is important that you to have information so you can make informed choices when you are in spaces or situations where monkeypox could be spread. Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take several weeks.

Can I get the monkeypox vaccine?

Monkeypox vaccines are in limited supply. Like early distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, the monkeypox vaccine is initially being distributed to those at highest risk. If you would like to be notified when the monkeypox vaccine is available, complete our monkeypox vaccine registration.

Vaccine Distribution Tiers

Tier 1

People at risk for occupational exposure (i.e. lab personnel with high exposure risk) and individuals identified as close contacts or direct exposures

Tier 2

Attendees at events/venues linked to known monkeypox transmission

Tier 3

Individuals likely to have prolonged intimate contact that would put them at higher risk of being exposed

Teir 4

Nationally or locally identified groups with high risk of exposure

What should a person do if they have a new or unexplained rash or other symptoms?

Immediate actions:

  • Self isolate.
  • Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked out by a healthcare provider.
  • Avoid gatherings, especially if they involve close, personal, skin-to-skin contact.
  • Think about the people you have had close, personal, or sexual contact during the last 21 days, including people you met through dating apps. To help stop the spread, you might be asked to share this information if you have received a monkeypox diagnosis.

Seeking Care:

  • CALL your primary care doctor or urgent care before arriving in person. Let them know you have symptoms or have a confirmed exposure. This will allow staff time to prepare for a safe visit for you, them, and other patients.

For uninsured, under-insured and Medicaid recipients – you can visit one of the following Federally Qualified Health Centers:

Lincoln Heights Health Center
1401 Steffen Ave.
Appointments: (513) 588-3623

Mt. Health Family Practice
1411 Compton Rd.
Information: (513) 522-7500
Appointments: (513) 588-3623

Cincinnati Medical Center (Equitas Health)
2805 Gilbert Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45206
Phone: (513) 815-4475

Cincinnati Health Department Primary Health Care (Limited availability):

Ambrose H. Clement Health Center
3559 Reading Road, Suite 101

Millvale at Hopple Street Health Center
2750 Beekman Street
513-357-7320 during the week
513-352-3191 on Saturday

Braxton F. Cann Memorial Health Center
5818 Madison Road

Bobbie Sterne Health Center
1525 Elm Street

Northside Health Center
3917 Spring Grove Avenue

Price Hill Health Center
2136 W. 8th Street

How is monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact including:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox. We believe this is currently the most common way that monkeypox is spreading in the U.S.
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions.

This 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 monkeypox.
  • Hugging, massage, and kissing.
  • Prolonged face-to-face contact.
  • Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

  • You may experience all or only a few of the symptoms of monkeypox.
  • Most people with monkeypox will get a rash.
  • Some people have developed a rash before (or without) flu-like symptoms.
  • Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus.
    • The flu-like symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion.
    • If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later.
  • The rash may be located on or near the genitals or anus but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, or face.
    • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
    • The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
    • The rash may also be inside the body, including the mouth, vagina, or anus.

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