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Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus. Health officials are tracking a global outbreak of monkeypox in 2022. Monkeypox has been identified in many countries that do not normally report monkeypox, including the United States.

Situation updates:

Kitsap Public Health District updates:

Resources for Kitsap healthcare providers:


What is monkeypox and why is it a public health concern?

Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder. Monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is being reported this year in countries that do not normally report monkeypox cases, including the United States. Monkeypox cases have been reported in several Washington counties, with the majority reported in King County. 

How serious is it?

Most people recover in two to four weeks. Monkeypox can cause serious illness, especially in people who are immunocompromised, children, and people who are pregnant.

How does monkeypox spread?

The monkeypox virus is most often spread through close, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox (usually contact with a rash, sores or scabs from a person with monkeypox). Monkeypox can also spread through respiratory droplets or saliva during face-to-face contact, such as kissing, or contact with items such as clothing or bedding used by someone with monkeypox.
Anyone can get monkeypox. According to the CDC, many cases report having sustained physical contact with people who have monkeypox symptoms. While many of those affected in current outbreaks are gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox can get the illness. Learn more about monkeypox prevention and sexual health.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Symptoms can include a rash or sores that can look like pimples or blisters (see image below). The rash can appear anywhere on the body. 
Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, chills, headaches or muscle aches, swollen glands, and exhaustion can occur before a rash or sores appear. 
Learn more about identifying monkeypox.

How to protect yourself and others

  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with people who have symptoms similar to monkeypox, especially a rash or sores.  
  • If you develop an unexplained rash or sores similar to monkeypox, contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible and avoid physical contact with others.

Is there a vaccine for monkeypox?

Vaccination for monkeypox is not available to the general public or local healthcare providers at this time. Vaccine supplies are limited; vaccination is being prioritized for people who have had close contact with monkeypox cases and are at high risk for infection. 

The state Department of Health expects to receive additional vaccine supplies in late August. Vaccination eligibility could expand to include more high-risk groups as supplies increase. See the Department of Health's website for more information. 

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