Monkeypox (MPX)

About Monkeypox (MPX) 

Monkeypox (MPX) is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus, a relative of the smallpox virus. MPX usually causes a rash or sores—which can look like pimples, blisters, or an ingrown hair—and flu-like symptoms. It spreads primarily through close, intimate, often skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact, with people who have MPX symptoms such as rash and sores. 

Since May 2022, there has been an uptick in cases in parts of the world where MPX does not usually occur, including here in California, with one reported case in San Luis Obispo County to date. As this disease continues to be present, it is possible we will experience MPX cases on campus. Cal Poly will monitor reported positive cases in partnership with our local and state health departments and will communicate with you if additional guidance is required. 

Campus Health & Wellbeing (CH&W) is prepared to support our students with testing and medical evaluation, coordination of post exposure vaccination and medication treatment in coordination with SLO County Public Health. CH&W is closely following this issue, in coordination with the SLO Couty Public Health Department, the California Department of Public Health and CDC, and will provide updates to this site as the situation evolves.  

See Updates from CDC   

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Case information

While it's good to stay alert about any emerging public health outbreaks, the current risk of MPX to the general public remains low.  

For up-to-date case information on the outbreak in California and general information about MPX—including a detailed Q&A—see the California Department of Public Health MPX information hub.  

See the California MPX Information Hub  

Monkeypox (MPX) in SLO County 

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Vaccine

A vaccine can provide protection against MPX, but vaccine supply remains very limited nationwide, but is gradually increasing. The goal is for everyone who wants a vaccine to receive a vaccine. We will work with the Public Health Department to keep the community informed as more doses become available. 

Campus Health & Wellbeing will be holding a vaccine clinic on September 29th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the lower level of the health center (27-11) for students at the highest risk of MPX infection, including Cal Poly Students age 18+ who:

  • Have had close contact with someone diagnosed with MPX, during the time that person had symptoms. This could be through one-on-one contact or by attending a large event with lots of close contact and later learning that someone at the event was diagnosed with MPX. If you have had close contact with someone diagnosed with MPX, please contact CH&W at (805) 756-1211 or walk in to CH&W for evaluation.
  • Identify as gay, bisexual, and other men or trans people who have sex with men, or
  • Identify as sex workers of any sexual orientation or gender identity, including those who engage in transactional or survival sex.

If you meet these criteria and would like to receive the JYNNEOS vaccine, please attend the one-time vaccine clinic on September 29th. The California Department of Public Health also stands ready to supply reserve vaccines for local outbreaks if needed. 

If you do not meet the current criteria but would like to stay informed as vaccine eligibility within SLO County expands, please sign up to receive updates

Learn more about the vaccine   

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Protect Yourself

We know that MPX spreads between people primarily through close contact (e.g., direct physical contact with the infectious rash, including during intimate contact such as kissing, cuddling, or sex). The risk of contracting this infection is low for those who have been in casual, rather than close, contact with an infected individual (e.g., being in the same room). 

  • Take the following steps to prevent monkeypox:  

  • 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. 

  • 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, touch or share 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. 

Learn more about how to protect yourself 

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When to Seek Care

Symptoms of MPX can include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.  

If you develop symptoms consistent with MPX, please contact Campus Health & Wellbeing at (805) 756-1211 or your own healthcare provider to report the symptoms and seek further guidance. If you seek care through your own healthcare provider, please also contact Campus Health & Wellbeing to report your case.  

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