M​pox Virus Resources

Updated as of February 23, 2023

On July 1, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services shared that a Dane County resident was confirmed to have a case of orthopoxvirus, a group of monkeypox viruses. This case is the first known in Wisconsin. In addition, the World Health Organization recently declared monkeypox a global health emergency.

Recently, following a series of consultations with global experts, WHO will begin using a new preferred term “mpox” as a synonym for monkeypox. Per this recommendation, GHC-SCW will begin using mpox to refer to monkeypox.

Although mpox is rare, it can cause severe infection in some people. Being aware of the symptoms and signs of mpox and being vigilant about monitoring mpox can help reduce the spread of the disease.


​What is mpox?

Mpox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. The monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as the variola virus, which causes smallpox. Mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but milder, and mpox is rarely fatal. But, mpox can be severe and life-threatening for some.

 Mpox is not related to chickenpox.

How does mpox spread?

Mpox spreads in different ways. The virus can spread from person-to-person through:

  • Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids.
  • Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.
  • Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids.
  • Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

It's also possible for people to get mpox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.



What are the symptoms of mpox?

Symptoms of mpox can include...

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Swollen lymphnodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.

The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms, and others may only experience a rash.

I think I might have mpox... what do I do?

If you think you may have mpox or have come into contact with someone who has mpox, it's important to reach out to your primary care provider (PCP) as soon as possible. They will help determine the next best steps for potential testing, monitoring, and care.

You can also reach out to the 24/7 GHC NurseConnect line at (608) 661-7350 or toll-free at (855) 661-7350 to get advice and determine next best steps for your care.

Public Health Madison and Dane County is asking Dane County residents that believe they may have been exposed to monkeypox please call the mpox hotline at (608) 266-4821. If you live outside of Dane County, you are encouraged to reach out to your local health department.



Is there a mpox vaccine?

There is an FDA-Approved mpox vaccine, but GHC-SCW is not currently vaccinating members for the virus due to limited supply. (Accurate as of July 25, 2022) Public Health Madison and Dane County are vaccinating residents on a case-by-case basis based on different eligibility requirements. Please call the monkeypox hotline at (608) 266-4821 if you believe you may qualify for vaccination.

As the mpox outbreak is ever-changing, vaccination eligibility and availability are subject to change. Please continue checking back for the latest information on mpox vaccine availability.

What can I do to protect myself from mpox?

Protecting yourself and your loved ones from mpox is key to helping stop the spread of monkeypox.

Here are some easy steps to preventing the spread of mpox:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people with a rash that looks like mpox.
    • 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.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.