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Answers to questions about MPX (monkeypox)

UC is closely following information and guidance from federal, state and local public health authorities about the global spread of the MPX (monkeypox) virus. UC campuses are working to ensure their infection prevention and control programs and processes are adapted to address potential MPX outbreaks

UC encourages everyone in its communities to follow recommendations from their physicians and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials for prevention, risk reduction and actions after exposure.

Read an FAQ online at UCnet. It will be updated as circumstances warrant and additional information becomes available.

Frequently asked questions about MPX

What is MPX and what are the symptoms?
MPX is a rare disease caused by infection with the MPX virus. MPX is part of the same family of viruses that cause smallpox. MPX symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and MPX is rarely fatal.

People with MPX get a rash that will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. MPX can start with a rash, or with symptoms like the flu, with fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes and general body aches. People with MPX may experience all or only a few of these symptoms. Most with MPX will develop the rash or sores. Two main strains of the MPX virus are known to exist; the milder strain is currently circulating. MPX is not related to chickenpox.

How is MPX spread?
MPX spreads primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs or body fluids, during activities like kissing, hugging, massaging, cuddling and sex. MPX can spread through touching materials used by a person with MPX that haven’t been cleaned, such as clothing and bedding. It can also spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, close, face-to-face contact. MPX is not spread through brief conversations or walking by someone with MPX.

What is the risk of getting MPX?
Despite the outbreak and recent increase in cases, the risk of contracting MPX remains very low, according to health officials. Health professionals across UC are carefully monitoring the rapidly evolving MPX situation and guidance from public health authorities.

Is there anything I can do to protect myself?
Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the following steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like MPX.
    — Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with MPX.
    — Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with MPX.
    — The CDC guidance for prevention also includes safer sex guidance.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with MPX has used.
    — Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with MPX.
    — Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with MPX.
  • 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.

What should I do if I have symptoms of MPX, or if I’ve been exposed?
If you have had exposure, have symptoms you are concerned about or need to speak with someone about your risk, please contact your primary care provider or a public health clinic. Most providers now can test for MPX through commercial laboratories.

Most cases of MPX do not require hospital admission and individuals recover at home. There are designated hospitals across the state — including UCSF Health and UC Davis Health — that are equipped to handle patients who have MPX and require hospital admission.

Is there a vaccine that protects against MPX?
Yes. Vaccination helps to protect against MPX when given before or shortly after exposure. At this time, the federal government has allocated a limited number of vaccine doses to California. Consult your physician if you are interested in a vaccination.

What are UC locations doing to prevent and prepare for MPX infections?
Campuses are following recommendations from federal, state and local public health authorities. UC campuses are working to ensure their infection prevention and control programs and processes are adapted to address potential MPX outbreaks. The COVID infrastructures that have been developed and the experience of the campuses in addressing COVID will serve as useful resources in addressing MPX outbreaks. Additionally, all University of California Health facilities have processes in place for testing for MPX and are capable of treating MPX. Non-medical center UC campuses are working closely with local health departments for testing and treatment.

Are MPX vaccinations required for members of the UC community (students, employees, contractors, visitors, etc.)?
UC is following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health and does not require MPX vaccination. CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to MPX and people who may be more likely to get MPX. More details on vaccination guidelines are available on the CDC’s website. UC will continue to monitor CDC and CDPH guidelines on vaccination.

Is UCOP providing centralized guidance and requirements for MPX prevention and outbreak response?
UC locations are following guidance on MPX prevention and response from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as state and local public health authorities. Given differences in facilities, programs and activities, each UC location is tailoring its local infectious disease prevention and response plans to meet the specific needs of its students, faculty and staff. Representatives from UC campuses, risk management and health functions continue to meet to share approaches and best practices for infection prevention and response.


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