Monkeypox (mpox): What to Know
The Alexandria Health Department will be updating webpages with the term "mpox" to reduce stigma and other issues associated with prior terminology. This change is aligned with the recent World Health Organization decision.
Vaccine Sign Up
People who meet the below eligibility criteria can book an appointment for JYNNEOS, a two-dose, FDA-approved vaccine that can prevent you from developing monkeypox or could make your symptoms less severe if you do get sick.
- You’ve been exposed to monkeypox:
- Call us at 703.746.4988 so we can help find you an appointment quickly.
- Within the past 14 days:
- You have had anonymous sexual contact or more than one partner.
- You are a sex worker.
- You are staff at an establishment where sexual activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, sex clubs, swingers’ events).
- You have attended sex-on-premises venues (e.g. bathhouses, sex clubs, swingers’ events).
- You are living with HIV/AIDS
- You have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection in the past three months
Walk in vaccination is available Wednesdays starting at 10AM, and Thursdays starting at 2:30PM but calling ahead will ensure you get an appointment. Please note, no clinics will be available the week of Thanksgiving.
If you are having difficulty making an appointment or need support in a language other than English, contact 703.746.4988. Minors 17 years old and under must have a parent, guardian, or adult aged 18 or older designated by the parent or guardian present on-site to receive the vaccine.
If you can’t find an open appointment or you don’t meet the current eligibility, fill out our waitlist form and we’ll contact you once more clinic spots are available.
Alexandria Health Department can give you a vaccine no matter what state you live in. Virginians who work, go to school, or receive DC Health-provided services in the District of Columbia may also receive a vaccine through DC Health (if eligible) by filling out this form.
The most common symptom is a rash, bumps, or sores –the ‘pox’ part of "monkeypox" virus –also known as MPV– that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
Some people may also have the following symptoms first (or in addition to a rash or sores):
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
Symptoms can show up as early as 5 days or as late as 21 days after you were exposed to monkeypox. This is why people who are exposed to monkeypox need to watch carefully for symptoms in the days and weeks afterwards. People with monkeypox are contagious while they have symptoms. Symptoms usually last 2-4 weeks.
How Monkeypox (mpox) is Spread
Anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, can get monkeypox. Many, but not all cases so far, have been among communities of people who self-identify as men who have sex with men (MSM).
The most common way it spreads is from direct contact with the skin, clothes, bedding or bodily fluids of someone infected with the virus. Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until all sores have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed – this can take several weeks so please be aware!
Monkeypox is NOT known to infect people primarily via sex, however, for most people, sexual activity involves contact with skin and bodily fluids and that IS how monkeypox is spread. It might also spread through large respiratory droplets such as if someone with monkeypox coughs or sneezes close to your face.
How To Prevent An Infection
To decrease your chances of getting and spreading monkeypox:
- Always talk with your sexual partner(s) about any recent illness, and especially any new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including on the genitals and anus.
- If anyone has a new or unexpected rash or sore, do not have sex or close physical contact.
- Wash hands, sex toys and bedding every time before and after sex or other intimate activities.
When making plans, consider the level of risk. Going to clubs, raves, saunas, sex parties, and other places with skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact with many people increases the risk of exposure. Read more about social gatherings and monkeypox from the CDC.
When to Call Your Doctor
If you think you might have been exposed to Monkeypox or you have symptoms, call your doctor or healthcare provider. Risk to the general public is low, but you should seek medical care immediately if you develop new, unexplained skin rash (blisters, lesions, bumps or sores on any part of the body), with or without fever and chills. Call ahead before going to a healthcare facility. If you are not able to call ahead, tell a staff member as soon as you arrive that you are concerned about monkeypox. If your healthcare provider needs help with monkeypox evaluation and testing, let them know they can call the health department. Alexandria Health Department (AHD) can coordinate with your healthcare provider to arrange for testing. Avoid close contact, including sexual or intimate contact, with anyone until you have been evaluated by a healthcare provider.
If you have monkeypox, the Alexandria Health Department will reach out to you about what you should do. For more information on what to do when you have monkeypox, call your doctor.
If you have insurance, but don't have a doctor, call an urgent care to see if they offer testing or evaluation.
If you don't have insurance, call the Alexandria Health Department at 703.746.4988 for support.
What We Are Doing
Alexandria Health Department is working with state and regional partners to be able to provide vaccines to high-risk individuals. AHD is also coordinating with local healthcare providers and with the VDH on local testing availability, care for monkeypox cases, and provider education and preparedness. More information about the strategic action framework AHD is using to address the monkeypox outbreak can be found here.
On Wednesday, September 14, public health officials addressed important community concerns including how the virus is spread, common symptoms, vaccine eligibility, and what the City is doing to keep residents and businesses safe and well-informed.
Get More Information
There are a variety of resources at the local, state and national levels to help address community concerns and educate the public about this disease. If you want to speak to someone directly, call 703.746.4988 between 9 AM and 5 PM, Monday through Friday. For online inquiries, email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will reach out to you.
- CDC mpox FAQ
- VDH page on mpox
- CDC general mpox page
- Informational flyer from AHD (also available in Spanish , Amharic , and Arabic )