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Monkeypox Care

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus (MPV). Northwestern University Student Health Service Evanston and Chicago are able to provide  education, testing and treatment pathways through Northwestern Medicine for MPV. 

MPV can cause painful and potentially scarring blisters, rash, and swelling. Swelling from MPV in the mouth, throat, urethra, or anus can be extremely painful and possibly dangerous.  

MPV usually begins with the below symptoms: 

Within one to three days after the appearance of fever, a rash develops. It may begin anywhere such as the genitals, genital area, butt, back, chest, hands, or face. The rash may also appear where it is hard to see such in anus/rectum, mouth, throat, and/or urethra. Afterwards, sores can begin to develop over a period of 14-21 days. The severity of illness depends upon a person’s health, how they were exposed, and the strain of the virus. Typically, MPV symptoms last for 14-28 days. For examples of what MPV rash looks like, visit the 

If you think you may have monkeypox or are waiting for test results, please stay home and isolate from others in your household, residence hall or apartment.  If possible, we recommend that you use a separate bathroom and bedroom. If you do need to leave home or be around others, wear a mask and keep all lesion, if present, covered.

MPV spreads from: 

MPV Prevention

Due to a national shortage of MPV vaccines, it is important to take steps to prevent the spread of MPV. 

  • Check: 
    • Your skin for bumps, blisters, or rash that may look like pimples. 
    • Genital areas, around the anus, trunk, face, hands and back. 
    • Yourself and your partners. 
    • Rash may be in the mouth, urethra, and/or rectum. Some or all symptoms may be present during MPV infection. Isolate if you experience fever, swollen lymph nodes, and/or rash, which may or may not be painful. 
  • Do not share bedding/towels and avoid skin-to-skin contact. 
  • Wear a mask around others.
  • Whenever possible, limit the number of sex partners. A tight or closed network of partners may help reduce your risk of infection. 
  • Avoid sex with partners whose MPV status is unknown. 

Vaccine Eligibility

Anyone living in Chicago and Illinois, including students enrolled in Chicago’s universities/colleges, who meet one of the following criteria AND have not previously been infected with MPV, is recommended to complete the two-dose series of MPV JYNNEOS vaccine as recommended:

The MPV Jynneos vaccine is available to anyone living in Illinois who:

  • Had skin-to-skin or intimate contact (e.g., household members with close physical contact or intimate partners) with someone diagnosed with MPV.
  • Exchanges good or services for sex.
  • Lives with HIV, especially persons with uncontrolled or advanced HIV disease.
  • Is eligible for or is currently taking PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to help prevent infection with HIV.


  • Is a sexually active bisexual, gay and other same gender-loving men, or sexually active transgender individuals.


  • Sexual partners of those included above or individuals who anticipate meeting criteria above in the future.
Especially consider getting vaccinated if you:
  • Met recent partners through online applications or social media platforms (such as Grindr, Tinder or Scruff), or at clubs, raves, sex parties, saunas.
  • Were diagnosed with sexually transmitted infection(s) (STI) in past 6 months.

Treatment for MPV

Tecovirimat (TPOXX) is an available treatment for qualifying people with severe MPV. Because TPOXX is available through the CDC’s Expanded Access Investigational New Drug (EA-IND) protocol, we are required to obtain written informed consent prior to starting the medication. Only a small percentage of people with MPV will be eligible for treatment with TPOXX.  NMSHS has a pathway through our NM colleagues to have access to TPOXX should a student meet eligibility criteria.

Eligibility for TPOXX includes: 

  • Experiencing severe disease such as hemorrhagic disease, lesions that are extensive, sepsis, encephalitis, or other conditions requiring hospitalization.  
  • Being at high risk of severe disease including people with immunocompromising conditions, such as recent organ transplant or on cancer-suppressing drugs; people who are pregnant or breastfeeding; people with gastroenteritis with severe nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, or dehydration; and people with infections involving accidental implantation in eyes, mouth, or other anatomic areas where MPV virus infection might constitute a special hazard (e.g., the genitals or anus).  

Talk to your healthcare provider to determine if you are eligible for MPV treatment with TPOXX. 

Tips for Recovery

If you have screened positive for MPV or are experiencing MPV symptoms, it is important to do what you can to minimize the chance of exposure to others.  

  • Self-isolate as much as possible until you are no longer experiencing symptoms. 
  • If you have lesions or a rash, cover them with clothing or a soft cloth when interacting with others or leaving your home. 
  • Do not share your bedding, towels, clothes, or other fabrics with others. Wash and dry your used bedding, towels, and clothing after use. 
  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with others and use a face mask around others to minimize their risk of infection from large droplets from coughing or sneezing. 
Supportive care for any rash or lesions includes drinking plenty of fluids, pain management, and prevention or treatment of bacterial infections.