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Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness that can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with body fluid or monkeypox lesions.

2022 Outbreak Information

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first U.S. monkeypox case on May 18, 2022. In May 2022, Massachusetts confirmed a monkeypox case in a patient with recent travel to Canada; Texas and Maryland each reported a case in 2021 in people with recent travel to Nigeria. Since early May 2022, the United Kingdom has identified nine cases of monkeypox; the first case had recently traveled to Nigeria. None of the other cases have reported recent travel. There are currently 40 cases in the U.S.

On May 26, 2022, DC Health issued a Health Notice for District of Columbia Health Care Providers with clinical recommendations and reporting requirements for any suspected cases.

On June 4, 2022, the DC Public Health Lab confirmed the first positive Orthopoxvirus case in a District resident who reported recent travel to Europe.

District of Columbia 2022 Outbreak Data

Case Count

About Monkeypox

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a concentrated effort to eliminate smallpox. Since then, monkeypox has been reported in people in several other central and western African countries.

Monkeypox cases in people have occurred outside of Africa linked to international travel or imported animals, including cases in the US.


In humans, the symptoms of monkeypox can be similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox.

Symptoms can begin with:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

Within 1-3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash can progress from being flat and red, to being a bump, to being fluid-filled, to being pus-filled, and then to being a scab.

Symptoms usually appear between 7-14 days after exposure but can range between 5-21 days. The illness typically lasts between 2-4 weeks.


Monkeypox virus can spread when a person comes into contact with the virus from an infected animal, infected person, or materials contaminated with the virus. Monkeypox virus may spread from animals to people through the bite or scratch of an infected animal, by handling wild game, or through the use of products made from infected animals. The virus may also spread through direct contact with body fluids or sores on an infected person or with materials that have touched body fluids or sores, such as clothing or linens.

Monkeypox spreads between people primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact. Monkeypox can spread during intimate contact between people, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing, cuddling, or touching parts of the body with monkeypox sores.


There are a number of measures that be taken to prevent infection with monkeypox virus:

  • Avoid coming into contact with people recently diagnosed with the virus or those who may have been infected.
  • Wear a face mask if you are in close contact with someone who has symptoms.
  • Practice good hand hygiene, especially after coming into contact with infected — or suspected infected. For instance, wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcoholbased hand sanitizer.
  • Use personal protective equipment when caring for patients with confirmed or suspected monkeypox infection.

Additional Documents: