As reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the United Stated is experiencing a steady increase in the number of monkeypox cases. While the number in Duval County remains low, we want you to be aware of symptoms and know how to protect yourself from the virus.  

If you develop a rash or bump on your skin or concerned that you may have been exposed to someone with monkeypox, please call the Student Health Center at 904-256-8080 to schedule an appointment for evaluation, testing if indicated and management.    


Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by a virus that is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox.  While most cases occur in central and western Africa, the World Health Organization reports there has been an increase in infections in different parts of the world, including the United States.  Monkeypox can be transmitted from animals to humans and once a person is infected it can be transmitted to other people.  Although the risk of contracting monkeypox is generally low and is rarely fatal, it is important to contact your healthcare provider for guidance if you develop a rash or think you may have been exposed to the virus.        

Monkeypox Symptoms

  • People with monkeypox will get a rash that can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
  • Some people will have flu-like symptoms before the rash appears, while others get a rash followed by symptoms.  There are some reported cases of some who only develop a rash.  
  • The rash may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
  • The rash will progress through several stages, including flat red spots that turn to bumps, then blisters, then blisters filled with whitish fluid that looks like pus, then open sores and scabs that eventually fall off and heal.

Viral symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache

How monkeypox spreads

  • Direct skin-to-skin contact with the infectious rash, sores, scabs, or body fluid.
  • Exposure to respiratory secretions or oral fluids during prolonged, face to face contact or during intimate physical contact, such a cuddling, kissing or sex.  
  • Contact with items such as clothing, bedding, towels, or surfaces that have previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids.

How long do monkeypox symptoms last?

  • The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
  • Monkeypox symptoms usually start to appear one to two weeks after exposure, but the incubation period can be as short as five days or as long as 3 weeks from the time of exposure to the virus. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later.

How long is monkeypox contagious?

Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed.

How do I protect myself from the monkeypox virus?

  • 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.
      • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

People more likely to get monkeypox include: 

  • People who have been identified as a contact of someone with monkeypox.
  • People who are aware that one of their sexual partners in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox.
  • People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known monkeypox.

Do I need to get vaccinated against monkeypox?

  • The CDC recommends those who have been exposed to monkeypox or at high risk for exposure to get vaccinated.  
  • Duval County is currently in phase 3 of vaccine distribution. The priority groups include:
    • Close contacts of monkeypox cases
    • Immunocompromised, men having sex with men (MSM) with HIV (< 200 CD4 count) with potential exposure
    • Other MSM with a recent history of a sexually transmissible disease
    • All other MSM with HIV who had potential exposure
    • All MSM
    • Other high-risk groups

If I have been identified as a high-risk for exposure, how do I get vaccinated? 

  • The JU Student Health Center DOES NOT carry the monkeypox vaccine. However, if you are interested in vaccination, you can schedule an appointment with any Federally Qualified Health Center or the Florida Department of Health in Duval County for screening and vaccination.  
  • The following locations are providing vaccines by APPOINTMENT ONLY.    
    • Florida Department of Health in Duval County
      • (904) 253-1130
    • Agape
      • (904) 760-4904
    • Sulzbacher
      • (904) 394-8069