Alerts

MPOX Information

Update as of October 4, 2022: First case of MPOX confirmed in Wyandotte County. Read the news story to learn more.

Find answers to frequently asked questions about MPOX below. You can also learn more about MPOX from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html

Please note: The Unified Government Public Health Department has MPOX vaccines available for people who are at higher risk of exposure to MPOX. See the "Who can get a MPOX vaccine?" section for more information, or click the button below to go to the sign-up form:

MPOX Vaccine Sign-Up

Frequently Asked Questions:

MPOX information at a glance

  • The current MPOX outbreak is an evolving situation. Public health agencies continue to monitor MPOX spread and learn more about the outbreak. The information below could change as we learn new information.
  • As of October 4, 2022, there has been one case of MPOX in Wyandotte County.
  • General risk of getting MPOX in our area remains low right now, but it’s important to stay up to date on MPOX status in our area.
  • MPOX usually involves a blister-like rash and may include flu-like symptoms.
  • People usually get MPOX through close personal contact (especially through sexual contact) with a person who has symptoms.  Less commonly, it can spread through prolonged face-to-face contact or contact with contaminated surfaces such as clothing or linens.
  • MPOX testing is only available in certain circumstances. At this time, you must have symptoms and be examined by a healthcare provider to see if you are eligible for testing.
  • If you have symptoms like a new or unexplained rash that you suspect may be MPOX, contact your healthcare provider. People in Wyandotte County can also call the Unified Government Public Health Department (UGPHD) at 913-573-6716 and leave a message, and UGPHD staff will follow up.
  • The UGPHD has MPOX vaccines available for people who may be at higher risk of being exposed to MPOX. If you are interested in getting a MPOX vaccine, please fill out the MPOX Vaccine Sign-Up form

     

 

What is MPOX?

MPOX is a rare disease caused by infection with the MPOX virus (MPV). MPV is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox, though symptoms are milder than smallpox. MPOX is not related to chickenpox.

Are there any cases of MPOX in Wyandotte County?

Updated October 4, 2022 - There has been one confirmed case of MPOX in Wyandotte County. There have been 21 confirmed cases in Kansas. There have been over 26,000 cases in the United States and nearly 69,000 cases worldwide. You can find the latest U.S. and global MPOX data from the CDC at: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/MPOX /response/2022/us-map.html

Find Kansas MPOX information at: https://www.kdhe.ks.gov/1923/Monkeypox 

Are people in Wyandotte County at high risk of getting MPOX?

People in our area are at low risk of getting MPOX at this time. Local and state public health agencies are monitoring the situation closely and are prepared to respond to any new cases in our area. 

How does MPOX spread?

MPOX can spread in multiple ways. Anyone who is exposed to MPOX virus (MPV) in the ways listed below could potentially get MPOX.

Most of the time, MPOX is spread through contact with MPOX lesions on someone’s skin or mucous membranes (e.g., the inside of the mouth, nose, anus, and vagina), especially if the uninfected person’s skin is damaged. This type of exposure is more likely to occur through sexual activity than other types of contact.

The vast majority of MPOX cases in the current outbreak have been linked to sexual activity, including oral, anal, and vaginal sex. However, MPOX is not strictly a sexually transmitted infection (STI), as it can sometimes be spread other ways, including:

  • Non-sexual contact with another person’s skin or mucous membranes. This would likely involve prolonged contact and would be more likely to spread on broken skin. Brief physical contact, such as a handshake, is not likely to spread MPOX .
  • Prolonged face-to-face contact where you are breathing in large respiratory particles can spread MPOX . This type of transmission is uncommon, as it takes a long time of exposure very close to another person. This differs from something like COVID-19, which spreads through smaller respiratory droplets that can infect others more easily and quickly and can spread farther through the air (e.g. several feet away rather than face-to-face).
  • Touching a contaminated surface, like such as clothing or linens that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids. Only a small portion people in the current outbreak have gotten MPOX by touching a contaminated surface. This type of transmission would likely involve repeated or prolonged contact with contaminated surfaces. Brief contact with a contaminated surface is not likely to spread MPOX (examples: toilet seats, chairs, tables). 

 

If someone doesn’t have a visible rash, is it safe to have sex with them or other close skin-to-skin contact with them?

MPOX skin lesions are not always immediately obvious when looking at someone. Lesions from a MPOX  rash can resemble things like blisters, large pimples, or other skin conditions. Sometimes people have only a few lesions or even just one lesion. Also, sometimes lesions occur inside the body where they aren’t easily visible, such as in the mouth, vagina, or rectum.

If someone has flu-like symptoms, it is possible these could be initial MPOX symptoms before lesions have appeared. It also could be many other contagious respiratory conditions (cold, flu, COVID, etc.).

Learn more about safer sex and MPOX: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/sexualhealth/index.html   

Additionally, if you are planning to have sexual contact with someone, it is important to remember that some STIs do not have visible symptoms. Learn more about safer sex and preventing STIs here: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/stds-hiv-safer-sex/safer-sex  

 

Who can get MPOX?

Anyone in close contact with a person with MPOX can get it and should take steps to protect themselves. MPOX can affect people of any age, gender, sexual orientation, or race.

What are the symptoms?

Most people who get monkeypox have a rash:

  • May look like blisters or pimples, and it will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
  • May be on the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole), but can also be on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
  • May be painful or itchy.

Some people will also have flu-like symptoms, which can start before or after the rash appears. These symptoms can include headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, fever, chills, exhaustion, or respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough).

What should I do if I have symptoms?

If you have a new or unexplained rash, or other MPOX  symptoms, avoid contact with others and contact a healthcare providers. See more details below on what to do:

  • Contact your healthcare provider or local health department*. Please call ahead and tell them about your symptoms before coming in. They may advise you on precautions to take when you come in.
  • Stay home and avoid close contact with other people while you have symptoms. If a healthcare provider determines that you need to be tested for MPOX , please continue to stay home and avoid contact with others while waiting for your results.
  • Wear a mask if you have to be around others, like when you see a healthcare provider.
  • Cover any blisters or skin lesions (may be covered with clothing when possible).

*If you live in Wyandotte County, you can call the Unified Government Public Health Department (UGPHD) at 913-573-6716. Please leave a message and UGPHD staff will follow up. UGPHD staff can determine if you need to be examined for possible MPOX. Exams available by appointment only (no walk-ins).

 

 

How dangerous is MPOX? Is it deadly?

MPOX can be fatal, but the vast majority of people who get MPOX will survive. So far in the current outbreak, there have been 26 MPOX deaths globally, out of 68,874 people who have gotten MPOX (data as of October 3, 2022).

While most people who get MPOX will not die from it, symptoms can be very painful, and the rash can cause scarring. Additionally, while most people have mild to moderate illness from MPOX, serious illness and hospitalization from MPOX can happen. Some people are at higher risk for serious illness or death from MPOX. See the "Who is at highest risk of serious illness from MPOX?" section for more information.

 

Who is at highest risk of serious illness from MPOX?

People with weakened immune systems*, children under 8 years of age, people with a history of eczema, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be more likely to get seriously ill or die from MPOX.

*During the current outbreak, the CDC has reported severe cases of MPOX among people who have weakened immune systems due to HIV, another health condition, or as a result of treatment for certain health conditions.

Who can get tested for MPOX?

MPOX testing is only done in certain circumstances when someone has symptoms of MPOX , including skin symptoms that resemble MPOX . A healthcare provider must examine a patient to determine if MPOX is possible and get guidance from KDHE on testing. The type of testing currently available involves swabbing skin lesions.

Who can get a MPOX vaccine?

Your healthcare provider or local or state public health agency may recommend that you get a MPOX vaccine if you have been exposed to MPOX or if you are at high risk of exposure. Note: If you have been exposed to a confirmed case of MPOX, you will be contacted by your state health department and given special instructions on where and how you can receive the vaccine. 

Vaccines through the UG Public Health Department

The Unified Government Public Health Department (UGPHD) currently has MPOX vaccines for people who are at higher risk of being exposed to MPOX. Click the button below to fill out a form to see if you are eligible to receive a MPOX vaccination:

MPOX Vaccine Sign-Up

Criteria for higher risk of MPOX exposure is based on guidelines from the CDC and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Individuals who are currently eligible for the MPOX vaccine include men who have sex with men, or transgender, gender non-conforming, or gender non-binary individuals, or men or women who engage in commercial sex work, who, in the next 6 months: 

  • May have multiple or anonymous sex partners, or 
  • May meet sex partners through online applications or social media platforms (e.g., Grindr, Tinder, Scruff) or at clubs, raves, sex parties, saunas, or other large gatherings, or 
  • May be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection. 

The majority of cases in the current MPOX outbreak have been linked to sexual activity and have occurred in men who have sex with men, and people in their sexual networks. However, anyone in close contact with a person with MPOX can get MPOX, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, age, race, or other attributes.  

MPOX can spread in multiple ways. Most of the time, MPOX is spread through contact with MPOX lesions on someone’s skin or mucous membranes. This type of exposure is more likely to occur through sexual activity than other types of contact. Less commonly, monkeypox can spread through prolonged non-sexual physical contact, face-to-face contact, or contact with a contaminated surface such as clothing or linens that touched the infectious rash or bodily fluids. 

 

Are there treatments available for MPOX?

There is no treatment specifically used for MPOX. However, since MPOX and smallpox are closely related, antiviral medications meant to treat smallpox may be used for MPOX in some circumstances. KDHE and CDC would determine if a patient were eligible for antiviral treatment.

Additionally, your healthcare provider may recommend other prescription or over-the-counter options to manage symptoms like pain or itching.

What can I do to protect myself from MPOX?

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have MPOX symptoms:
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with MPOX.
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with MPOX.
    • 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.
  • Practice standard hand hygiene: Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Your healthcare provider or local or state health department may recommend that you get a MPOX vaccine if you have been exposed to MPOX or if you are at high risk of exposure. See the "Who Can Get a MPOX Vaccine" section for more information.