(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director of DC Health, provided an update on monkeypox and encouraged more DC residents to pre-register for a vaccination appointment at preventmonkeypox.dc.gov. Since May, the District has reported 122 cases of monkeypox.
Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness that can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. Often, it is spread during intimate physical contact between people, including sex, kissing, and hugging. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or when a person touches fabrics, such as bedding and towels, used by a person with monkeypox.
In response to the outbreak, the District has:
- Received 8,300 doses of the JYENNOS vaccine and administered approximately 2,600 doses, with additional vaccinations occurring this week.
- Set up two vaccination sites and residents can pre-register for an appointment at preventmonkeypox.dc.gov.
- Used contact tracing to identify more than 459 close contacts in the District and offer them vaccination appointments.
- Acquired TPOXX, an antiviral used for persons with weakened immune systems and others who are more likely to become seriously ill, and providing it to healthcare partners around the city.
Through the DC Health Wellness Center, DC Health is providing guidance to residents who have tested positive for monkeypox and as well as their close contacts. Additionally, through a 24 hour hotline, DC Health is providing guidance to healthcare providers who suspect a patient has monkeypox.
The initial symptoms of monkeypox often include flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes followed by a rash and lesions on the skin. The rash can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks and requires isolation until the lesions/rash scab over, the scabs fall off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. Although the majority of cases do not require hospitalization, monkeypox is dangerous, highly contagious, uncomfortable, and can be very painful. Individuals with symptoms of monkeypox should talk to their healthcare provider or go to a clinic to get tested, even those who do not think they have had contact with someone who has monkeypox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has example images of the lesions/rash available at cdc.gov.
Monkeypox vaccinations are confidential and District residents can pre-register for monkeypox vaccination appointments by visiting preventmonkeypox.dc.gov. Once appointments become available, individuals who have pre-registered will receive an email invitation to make a vaccination appointment. Residents are encouraged to closely monitor their email as they will have 48 hours to claim their appointment. Eligible residents who do not immediately receive an appointment invitation will stay in the system until an appointment becomes available.
Currently, to be eligible for the monkeypox vaccine in DC, a person must be a District resident, 18 years of age or older, and:
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and have had multiple (more than one) or any anonymous sexual partners in the last 14 days; or
- Transgender women or nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men; or
- Sex workers (of any sexual orientation/gender); or
- Staff (of any sexual orientation/gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs)
All residents are invited to pre-register for a vaccination appointment, and those who are not currently eligible will be contacted if eligibility changes and appointments are available. Visit preventmonkeypox.dc.gov for the latest information on the virus.