Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, which is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox. Beginning in May 2022, cases of monkeypox began to be reported in countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including the United States. For the most up-to-date case number of cases in Connecticut and across the country please visit the CDC 2022 U.S. Map and Case Count.
The public health system is tracking and responding to this outbreak of monkeypox. LLHD will continue to share information and resources as they become available. Please visit our website and social media for up-to-date information.
Monkeypox Signs & Symptoms
Most people who get monkeypox will get a rash that can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. Other symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and/or respiratory symptoms like a sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough. Sometimes people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms; sometimes people have other symptoms first and then the rash; and sometimes people only experience a rash.
Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Monkeypox is spread through close personal contact, often skin-to-skin contact including direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs or body fluids from a person with monkeypox; touching objects including fabrics and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox; and/or contact with respiratory secretions. It is possible that people who are infected can spread the virus to animals through close contact including petting, cuddling or sharing food, so people diagnosed with monkeypox should avoid contact with animals. In addition, a pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
The public health system is currently working to contain the outbreak by encouraging people who have been diagnosed with monkeypox to isolate until their illness is over and by conducting contact tracing to identify people who have had close contact with people who have been diagnosed with monkeypox.
There is currently a very limited supply of vaccine available. In Connecticut vaccine is available to people identified by public health as having had a known exposure to a person with monkeypox within the last 14 days. Contact tracing teams from LLHD and other local health departments are reaching out to people identified as close contacts and connecting them with vaccine providers.
In addition, people who meet the all of the following criteria can be vaccinated: are 18 or older AND are a man or transgender, gender expansive or gender non-binary person who has sex with men AND have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days. If you meet these criteria and would like to receive the vaccine, you can contact one of 15 vaccine providers across Connecticut. In our region, the vaccine is being provided by Community Health Center in New London; you can reach them at 860.447.8304.
You can protect yourself from getting monkeypox by avoiding close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox; by avoiding contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used; and by washing your hands often with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
Monkeypox Testing and Treatment
Testing for monkeypox is available throughout Connecticut. If you have symptoms of monkeypox speak with your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox. If you do not have a healthcare provider or need help communicating with a provider about your concerns, please email our Community Health Worker team at email@example.com. People who have been diagnosed with monkeypox may be prescribed medicine to treat their infection and/or help manage their pain.
- “What You Need to Know about Monkeypox” recording and powerpoint from the Connecticut Department of Public Health presentation on July 28, 2022
- Monkeypox 101 flyer in English and Spanish from the Connecticut Department of Public Health
- Connecticut Department of Public Health Monkeypox page, including list of vaccine providers across the State
- 5 Things Sexually Active People Need to Know about Monkeypox video from CDC
- Monkeypox Frequently Asked Questions from CDC