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Updated: 5/30/23

Visit the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Mpox page for the latest information about confirmed or suspected cases of mpox in the state.

Mpox, also known as monkeypox, is a rare disease that is caused by infection with the mpox virus. It belongs to the same family of viruses as smallpox, although mpox tends to be milder than smallpox. Mpox spreads to through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including sex and kissing. The virus can be spread from the time symptoms start until all sores, including scabs, have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take several weeks.


Mpox symptoms usually start within 2 weeks of exposure to the virus. Initial symptoms are similar to flu (fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes), followed by a rash and sores that look similar to herpes sores. The rash or sores may be located on or near the genitals or anus but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, or face.

  • The sores will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
  • The sores can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
  • Sores may be inside the body, including the mouth, vagina, or anus.


  • Avoid intimate and physical contact with anyone who has symptoms
  • Talk openly with sexual partners prior to intimate physical contact
  • Consider covering exposed skin in dense, indoor crowds
  • Don't share bedding, clothing with others
  • Stay aware if traveling to countries where there are outbreaks


CCH recommends vaccination for anyone who thinks they are at risk for an mpox infection (see risk factors below).

For the best protection, people should get two doses of Jynneos vaccine for mpox at least 28 days apart. There are two methods for vaccine injection, intradermal (similar to a TB test) or subcutaneous (a regular shot like you’d get for chickenpox or measles). At county-run vaccination sites, you can choose which injection method you prefer.

Risk Factors

  • Sex with multiple partners
  • Sex at a commercial sex venue (like a sex club or bathhouse) or at an event
  • People who have had close contact with someone with suspected for confirmed mpox
  • People taking or prescribed HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
  • People with HIV
  • People who have been diagnosed with syphilis or gonorrhea infection in the past 12 months
  • People whose sexual partner identifies with any of the above scenarios


There are no treatments specifically for mpox infection. However, mpox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat mpox virus infections.

Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems, and there is a limited supply of TPOXX treatments for eligible patients within Contra Costa County. Most people with mpox recover fully within 2 to 4 weeks without the need for medical treatments.

To access mpox treatments:

  • For patients with Medi-Cal or who are uninsured, contact Contra Costa County Health Advice nurse at 877-661-6230
  • For patients with Medicare or private insurance, call the BASS ID group at 925-947-2334
  • For patients seen at John Muir Health call 925-939-3000
  • For patient seen at Kaiser, follow up with your provider