Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox is rarely fatal. It is not related to chickenpox.

Signs & Symptoms

You may have fever, chills, sore muscles, headache, or tiredness and then get a rash.

  • Sometimes, you may get a rash first, followed by other symptoms.
  • Others only experience a rash.
  • The rash is usually on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of your body like your hands, chest, and genitals or anus.

Monkeypox symptoms usually start within seven to 14 days after exposure but can range from five to 21 days. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash one to four days later.

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. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone can get monkeypox, regardless of age or sex, though the virus does not spread easily.

It is most commonly spread via close skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the rash or scabs from monkeypox.

Although less common, monkeypox can also be spread by touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox. It can also be spread through respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact.

Students who have been exposed to monkeypox or have monkeypox symptoms should isolate immediately and contact the MU Student Health Center by calling 573-882-7481. In consultation with Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, providers will determine if testing is appropriate based on history and examination.

Students should call before visiting the health center so proper procedures can be in place before they arrive. Students who suspect they have monkeypox should wear a high-quality mask when visiting the clinic and ensure any lesions and/or rash are covered.

If diagnosed with monkeypox, students will need to isolate at home until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off and new skin has formed. This can take 2-4 weeks. Students who live in residence halls and cannot travel home will be provided isolation housing and meals.

The health department will contact the student to conduct case investigation and contact tracing.

At this time, only the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services is authorized to administer vaccines. Public health partners will conduct contact tracing and determine eligibility for vaccination.

Monitor your health and contact the MU Student Health Center if you begin to develop symptoms of monkeypox. If the health department identifies you as having been potentially exposed during the case investigation, you will be contacted by a contact tracer with additional instructions.

Additional resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services

Centers for Disease Control: Safer Sex, Social Gatherings and Monkeypox