Administration & Housing: 573-875-8687
Clinic & Health Programs: 573-514-7312

The Basics

Monkeypox was first identified in 1958 and occurs primarily in Central and West African countries. Historically, monkeypox cases have rarely occurred in the U.S. and had mostly been related to international travel or importation of animals. With the new surge in cases in the United States, it is important that everyone understand their risk for infection and transmission and how that may take place. Transmission is not isolated to sexual interaction; any contact with the rash, scab, or body fluids in any way, including sexual or intimate contact, may lead to infection or transmission of monkeypox.

How is monkeypox spread?

  • Direct contact with rashes, scabs, body fluids, or a person with monkeypox.
  • Extended close contact (more than four hours) with respiratory droplets from an infected person.  This includes sexual contact.
  • Clothes, sheets, blankets, or other materials that have been in contact with rashes or body fluids of an infected person.
  • An infected pregnant person can spread the monkeypox virus to a fetus.

What to do to limit risk.

  • Avoid close contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
  • Avoid handling clothes, sheets, blankets, or other materials that have been in contact with an infected animal or person.
  • Isolate people who have monkeypox from healthy people.
  • Wash your haves well with soap and water after any contact with an infected person or animal.
  • Avoid animals that may carry the virus.

What are the symptoms?

  • Symptoms may start 5 to 21 days after you are exposed
  • Symptoms last 2 to 4 weeks
  • Fever
  • Skin rash
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backaches
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Swollen lymph nodes

What do I do if I think I have or have been exposed to monkeypox?

  • Call your general practitioner
  • Get tested! We recommend contacting the University of Missouri Clinics to get tested, call them at 573-882-7000.
  • If you have been exposed, call the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services to get the vaccine at 573-874-7355.  You must have a documented exposure and supplies are very limited at this time.

What to do if I HAVE monkeypox?

  • Always consult with your general practitioner before starting an at-home remedy.
  • Take pain relievers/fever reducers.  Medicines like ibuprofen and acetaminophen may help you feel better.
  • Take oatmeal baths.  This will help soothe the itching.
  • Isolate yourself, and avoid contact with others until all lesions have scabbed.
  • Cover lesions with gauze or bandages to limit the environmental spread.
  • Take care of yourself, stay home and rest, wear your mask around others and get plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid contact with pets (especially rodents).
  • REMINDER, you remain contagious until all sores are scabbed over.

When Should I go to the ER (after being diagnosed with monkeypox)?

  • Trouble breathing.
  • New or worsening chest pain.
  • Stiff neck.
  • Are confused or can’t think clearly.
  • Difficulty speaking or moving.
  • Loss of consciousness.
  • Seizures.

Testing and Treatment

Currently, Spectrum Health Care is not conducting monkeypox testing, vaccination or treatment. Until this becomes a test which we have access to and ongoing availability of, we urge anyone with symptoms or concerns to reach out to your local health departments or University of Missouri Health Clinics as they are the first line for access to testing and vaccination.