Monkeypox Questions?

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614-645-1519 or email
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(Closed Saturdays and Sundays)

What You Need to Know about Monkeypox

What is Monkeypox?
While uncommon, monkeypox is circulating in the U.S., including central Ohio. Monkeypox is caused by a virus that spreads through close, skin-to-skin intimate contact or during sex. It also can spread through kissing and contact with sheets, towels and other objects.

Who is at Risk?
Anyone can get monkeypox, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, if they come in close contact with someone infected with the virus. At this time, most, but not all cases of monkeypox within the 2022 outbreak have been found in people who identify as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men.

Symptoms of Monkeypox
Monkeypox starts with flu-like symptoms, followed by a rash or sores.
Initial symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that may be located on or near the genitals or anus, but could also be on other area like the hands, feet, chest or face. The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

Monkeypox Testing
If you have symptoms of monkeypox, you should see a healthcare provider for testing. If you do not have a provider, call Columbus Public Health at 614-645-7774 to make an appointment to get tested. You should only get tested if you have a rash or sores.

How Monkeypox Spreads and How to Prevent it
The monkeypox virus typically spreads through direct contact with a rash or sores on someone else who has the virus. It can also be transmitted through contact with clothing, bedding and other items used by a person with monkeypox.

  • If you feel sick or have any rashes or sores, do not attend any gatherings and see a healthcare provider.
  • Avoid any rashes or sores you see on others and minimize skin-to-skin contact when possible.
  • If you think you have monkeypox or been exposed to someone who does, contact a healthcare provider or public health clinic immediately.

What Columbus Public Health is Doing
Columbus Public Health is distributing the monkeypox vaccine to those most at risk, monitoring our community for monkeypox cases, conducting contact tracing, and providing prevention education to high risk communities, healthcare providers and the general public. 

The CDC is tracking an outbreak of monkeypox across several countries that don’t normally report the virus, including here in the United States. Travelers should:

  • Avoid close contact with sick people, including those with skin lesions or genital lesions
  • Avoid contact with dead or live wild animals, including small mammals like rats or squirrels, and non-human primates, like monkeys or apes.
  • Avoid eating or preparing meat from wild game or using products made from wild animals from Africa
  • Avoid contact with materials used by sick people, like clothing, bedding or items used in healthcare settings.

Where Monkeypox is Spreading
Global map of cases.

Learn More About Monkeypox