Updated: March 24, 2023, at :03:20 p.m.




Cameron County Public Health Hotline:  (956) 247-3650

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease transmitted through close personal contact of an infected person or their belongings, such as linens or clothing. 

It is similar in symptom appearance as smallpox, but is rarely fatal. Despite the name, monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.


Monkeypox spread

The virus spreads mainly from close personal contact with an infected person and/or their belongings. The virus can spread when an uninfected person touches an infectious rash, scabs, or bodily fluids. It can also spread by close contact with personal belongings such as clothing, surfaces, and towels.

Additionally, the virus also spreads through direct contact, such as through hugging, kissing or prolonged face-to-face contact. A pregnant person can also spread the virus to their fetus. It is also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, typically through scratches or bites.

An individual is contagious from the time their symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a new layer of skin has formed (2-4 weeks).

  1. Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
    • Do not touch any rash, scab, or lesions.
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with anyone that has a rash, scab, or lesions.
  2. Avoid contact with objects and materials with others.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups.
    • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  3. 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.
  4. Practice social distancing.
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  6. If you are sick, call your healthcare provider and isolate until the scabs/lesions have fully resolved.

Vaccine protection

The preferred vaccine to protect against monkeypox is JYNNEOS, which is a two-dose vaccine. It takes 14 days after getting the second dose of JYNNEOS for its immune protection to reach its maximum.

The ACAM2000 vaccine may be an alternative to JYNNEOS. ACAM2000 is a single-dose vaccine, and it takes four weeks after vaccination for its immune protection to reach its maximum. However, it has the potential for more side effects and adverse events than JYNNEOS. It is not recommended for people with severely weakened immune systems and several other conditions.

People should take precautions to reduce their exposure to monkeypox until immune protection from vaccines has reached its maximum. Consult your healthcare provider to see if you should get vaccinated against monkeypox, and if you should receive ACAM2000 instead of JYNNEOS.

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School reporting response plan

In response to a new school year and given the current health landscape of Texas, Cameron County
Public Health has developed the Monkeypox School Reporting Response Plan.