Public health officials are tracking cases of monkeypox (MPV) that have been reported in countries that don’t normally report monkeypox including the United States. US case counts map here (https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/response/2022/us-map.html) 

Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk to be infected. Early data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases in the current outbreak.

Cases by Region

Monkeypox cases by region in Iowa

Updated 9/21/2022 7:43 am


Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • 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. Others only experience a rash. A person is infectious from symptom onset until scabs fall off and a fresh layer of healthy skin has formed. The illness can last as long as 3-4 weeks. Most people do not have serious complications from MPV but will need to stay home until they are no longer infectious.

How it Spreads

  • The monkeypox virus is spreading mostly through close, intimate contact with someone who has monkeypox. At this time, data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up the majority of cases in the current monkeypox outbreak.  However, anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who has been in close, personal contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.
  • Close personal contact includes:
    • Direct contact with monkeypox sores or rashes on an individual who has monkeypox.  
    • Contact with respiratory droplets or oral fluids from someone with monkeypox, particularly for those who are around someone with monkeypox for a long period of time.
    • Monkeypox can also spread through contact with objects or fabrics (e.g., clothing, bedding, towels) that have been used by someone with monkeypox. 
    • Symptoms develop approximately 12 days after a person has been exposed but may be as early as 5 days and as late as 21 days.

Monkeypox Prevention

Vaccination is an important tool in preventing the spread of monkeypox. It takes time to build protection from the vaccine. Protection builds in the days and weeks after the first dose, but the vaccine will provide the best protection two weeks after the second dose. There is still much that is unknown about the virus and the level of protection that the vaccine provides. Regardless of vaccination status, there are several ways to reduce the risk of getting monkeypox. These changes are especially important when you are between your first and second dose of the vaccine. 

The following steps should be taken by all persons to prevent getting monkeypox:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
  • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox. 
  • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials a person with monkeypox has used. 
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person who has monkeypox. 
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after using the restroom.
  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact, and sex (oral, anal, vaginal) with people whose infection status is unknown or with a history of recent travel to areas that are part of the current MPV outbreak.
  • Having multiple or anonymous sex partners may increase your chances for exposure to MPV. Limiting your number of sex partners may reduce the possibility of exposure.
  • Talk to your partner about any recent illness and be aware of new or unexplained rash on your body or your partner's body, including the genitals and anus.
  • If you or your partner have recently been sick, currently feel sick, or have a new or an unexplained rash, do not have sex and see a healthcare provider.

Monkeypox Resources

  • Monkeypox Call Center - Effective August 17, 2022, a call center will be available for questions relating to monkeypox. Monkeypox Call Center, call 515-725-2081. 
  • Monkeypox Email - The Department has established a Monkeypox Email to respond specifically to questions regarding monkeypox. Questions can be emailed to: monkeypoxvaccine@idph.iowa.gov.     

Iowa Department of Public Health
Lucas State Office Building
321 E. 12th Street - Des Moines, IA 50319-0075
Phone: (515) 281-7689
Deaf Relay: (Hearing or Speech Impaired) 711 or 1-800-735-2942

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