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  • Mpox

    Learn more about mpox vaccine
    Mpox cases in Pierce County
    Probable or confirmed61
    Updated monthly.
    Last updated Nov. 7, 2023 at 8:05 a.m.

    What you should know.

    Mpox can cause a rash that looks like bumps, blisters or ulcers. Some people have flu-like illness before the rash develops.

    Anyone can get mpox. The virus spreads during close, physical contact.

    Most people recover in 2–4 weeks, but the disease can be serious, especially for children and people who are immune compromised or pregnant.

    Mpox fact sheet

    View our mpox fact sheet.

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    Pierce County mpox case demographics

    • Among cases with available data:
      • 95% identify as men who have sex with men. 10% did not report.
      • 62% are among people 18 to 34 years old.
      • Most are among people who identify as white (45%).
      • A higher proportion than might be expected relative to general population are among Black/African Americans and Hispanic/Latinos. 7% did not report race/ethnicity.

    The United States is experiencing an outbreak.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tracking the outbreak.

    Anyone who has close contact with a person who has mpox is at risk. Men who have sex with men may be at higher risk because the virus is spreading in these communities.

    What are the symptoms?

    Mpox can cause a rash that looks like bumps, blisters or ulcers. Before the rash, some people have flu-like symptoms, like:

    • Fever.
    • Headache.
    • Muscle aches and backache.
    • Swollen lymph nodes.
    • Chills.
    • Exhaustion.

    If you have a new rash or sores or other symptoms:

    • Avoid sex or intimate contact.
    • See your healthcare provider. Remind them mpox may be circulating in the community.

    If you don’t have a healthcare provider or insurance and need to get tested or treated for mpox, call us at (253) 649-1412.

    If you have questions about mpox, you can call Washington state’s help line at (833) 829-4357 (HELP).

    How does it spread?

    Mpox spreads through contact with:

    • Mpox rash, sores or scabs.
    • Objects, fabrics or surfaces a person with mpox used.
    • Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact with a person with mpox.

    Mpox can spread as soon as symptoms start until all sores heal and a fresh layer of skin forms. This can be several weeks.

    Learn more in CDC’s fact sheet and CDC’s safe gathering recommendations.

    Treatment and vaccine.

    The mpox and smallpox viruses are similar. Antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to treat and prevent mpox.

    Healthcare providers may prescribe antiviral medicine for people who are at high risk of severe disease. Are you a provider interested in giving vaccine or providing antiviral medication? Email cdepot@tpchd.org

    We are working with pharmacies, healthcare providers and community partners who routinely provide care to people at high risk of exposure to get mpox vaccine to those who need it most. Learn more on our mpox vaccine page.

    When you get vaccine, we won’t ask.

    • Exposed to mpox.
    • Sexually assaulted.
    • Male, non-binary or transgender person who has sex with men.
    • Exchanged sex for money, drugs or another purpose in the last 6 months.
    • Used meth in the last 6 months.
    • Had an STD in the last 12 months.
    • Taking PrEP to prevent HIV.
    • Had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 6 months.

    Resources

    For human service providers

    Mpox FAQs

    If you have a new rash or sores or other symptoms:

    • Avoid sex or intimate contact.
    • Contact your healthcare provider. Remind them mpox may be circulating in the community.
    • Results can take a few days. Continue to isolate from others while you wait.
    • You don’t need to visit the emergency room unless you’re seriously ill. 

    If you don’t have a healthcare provider or insurance and need to get tested or treated for mpox, call us at (253) 649-1412.

    Your insurance should cover testing. If you don’t have insurance and need to get tested for mpox, call us at (253) 649-1412.

    Most people recover from mpox on their own without treatment. Antivirals might help if you meet criteria for treatment. Your healthcare provider will help you decide the right treatment.

    Avoid sex or intimate activities with anyone until after you talk with a healthcare provider. Stay home and isolate from other people in your household. If you can’t fully isolate from others in your household or must leave home, wear a face mask and avoid physical contact.

    If the exposure meets CDC’s criteria for high- or intermediate-risk close contact, avoid prolonged physical contact for 21 days.

    Watch for symptoms. If you have them, start your isolation period. You can reduce your risk of severe symptoms if you start the vaccination series within 4 days of exposure. Contact your healthcare provider or call us at (253) 649-1412 to see if you are eligible. 

    Tell them to talk to their healthcare provider about getting tested. They should isolate at home until they get the results.

    Demand for mpox vaccine is high and the supply from CDC remains limited.

    We are working with pharmacies, healthcare providers and community partners who routinely provide care to people at high risk of exposure to get mpox vaccine to those who need it most. 

    Learn more on our mpox vaccine page.

    Mpox nearly always spreads by prolonged physical contact with the skin of a person who is sick with the disease. It spreads most efficiently if you have open or crusted monkeypox sores on the skin, but it can also spread through bodily fluids.

    A very small number of current cases were spread through either inhaling virus (most commonly in shared housing or healthcare settings) or possibly through clothing or surfaces. Spread in household or healthcare settings is very uncommon.

    COVID-19 is still a much more common health threat than mpox in Pierce County. If you take the sorts of precautions that keep COVID risk low (avoiding large gatherings, masking in public settings, good hand hygiene), your risk of catching mpox in the community is very low.

    If you have insurance, it should cover the vaccine. If you don’t have insurance or are underinsured, we can direct you to a clinic that will provide a dose at no cost to you.

    Not right now. We have a limited amount available in Pierce County for high and intermediate close contacts. We’ll notify you if you are eligible and help you find a dose.

    We expect to get more vaccine and hope to expand eligibility to at-risk populations soon. We are coordinating distribution of vaccine with pharmacies and providers.

    Yes. A new medication called TPOXX treats mpox. It is only available through emergency use authorization. Ask your healthcare provider if TPOXX is right for you. 

    You’re eligible to get mpox vaccine if you:

    1. Had a high-risk exposure to a person diagnosed with mpox.
      OR
    2. Are a sex worker of any gender or sexual orientation.
      OR
    3. Are a gay, bisexual or other man or transgender person who has sex with men AND at least 1 of the following applies to you:
    • Had multiple sex partners in the past 3 months.
    • Had gonorrhea or syphilis in the past year.
    • Used methamphetamine in the past month.
    • Attended a bathhouse or public sex venue in the past 3 months.
    • Homeless or in unstable housing AND staying in a congregate setting.
    • Exchanged sex for money, drugs or other purposes in the past 3 months.
    • Incarcerated in the past 3 months.
    • Black, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Asian, Indigenous, American Indian or Alaska Native.

    We continue to advocate for more vaccine. We expect to get more soon. When we do, we will expand eligibility and access.

    If you don’t have a healthcare provider or insurance and need to get tested or treated for mpox, call us at (253) 649-1412.

    If you have monkeypox or are a household contact of somebody who does, practice good hygiene. Use an alcohol-based rub or wash your hands with soap and hot water after you touch:

    • Rash material.
    • Clothes.
    • Linens.
    • Surfaces that might’ve been in contact with rash material.