NYMC > Departments > Administrative Departments > Health Services > Monkeypox


As New York Medical College (NYMC) leadership remains committed to ensuring the health and safety of all campus community members, we continue to monitor the emergence of monkeypox in the United States and in New York State. The information below is to increase awareness of the disease and share what symptoms are associated with it, and resources for vaccination and treatment, so that students, staff and faculty can remain informed.

For additional information on the disease, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) webpage on monkeypox.

What is monkeypox and who is at risk for acquiring it?

Monkeypox is a viral disease, manifested by a rash of pox-like lesions. Infection was first discovered in Africa and is endemic in certain African countries where the virus spreads to humans by contact with infected wildlife, usually rodents. It is usually a self-limited disease.

There is currently a global outbreak of monkeypox in which the infection is spreading from person–to–person primarily by close intimate contact. Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who has been in close, personal contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk. For data regarding who is currently at risk in the current outbreak, please visit the CDC webpage.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Identification of the rash is key. View key characteristics for identifying monkeypox here.

After exposure symptoms usually develop within one to two weeks but can begin within a few days. The illness often begins with flu-like symptoms including fever, and may include headache, body aches, swollen lymph nodes and general exhaustion. Within a few days this is followed by the onset of rash. The rash may precede the flu-like symptoms. Swollen lymph nodes are a distinguishing feature of monkeypox. The swollen lymph nodes can be localized or generalized.

The sores of the rash are often on the face, extremities, chest, hands, feet, genitals and anus, but can also be on the inside of the mouth.

The rash begins as a pimple or sore but progresses to vesicles (blisters) and then pus-filled blisters which heal with a scab that falls off, although it can become an ulcer before the scab. The sores often go through several stages before healing, which takes about three weeks.

An infected person is not considered contagious until symptoms appear, and they remain contagious until all sores have healed, a new layer of skin is formed and the scabs have fallen off.

Hospitalization if rare but sometimes is needed for the management of proctitis. Immunocompromised persons, young children and pregnant women, may be at risk of more severe disease.

How is the diagnosis of Monkeypox made?

Monkeypox is diagnosed through recognition of the clinical manifestations and confirmed by a PCR test performed on a sample taken from the rash. The PCR test is now available through some commercial laboratories.

What preventive measures can be taken? What about the vaccine?

Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with anyone with a rash that looks like Monkeypox. Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

The Smallpox/Monkeypox vaccine (JYNNEOS) is FDA approved for the prevention of Monkeypox in adults 18 years of age or older, at HIGH RISK for Monkeypox infection. The vaccine is generally indicated for Persons at risk for Monkeypox. For additional information, please visit the CDC webpage

How does one obtain the JYNNEOS vaccine?

The Smallpox/Monkeypox vaccine (JYNNEOS) is readily available through the Westchester County Department of Health and at a drive-through vaccination clinic at Westchester Medical Center. Schedule an appointment by calling (914) 326-2060. JYNNEOS is administered as 2 doses, 4 weeks apart. Read the CDC Vaccine Information Statement.

What should one do if they experience symptoms suggestive of Monkeypox?

People with confirmed Monkeypox or symptoms highly suggestive of Monkeypox are to isolate at home. In addition, certain persons with confirmed infection may be a candidate to receive a vaccination or antiviral treatment (tecovirimat) depending upon the duration of illness and the risk for the development of severe disease. Call (914) 326-2060 for information.

What should one do if they may have been exposed to Monkeypox?

Speak to your health care provider or call the Westchester Medical Center information line at (914) 326-2060. Persons exposed may be a candidate for receipt of the Smallpox/Monkeypox vaccine (JYNNEOS) vaccine. For 21 days following exposure, one is to monitor of any symptoms of Monkeypox.

Health care workers notified of a Monkeypox exposure in a health care setting are to follow up in accordance with the instructions from the clinical site. Exposed students are to also notify NYMC Health Services at health_services@nymc.edu of exposure and of any symptoms potentially consistent with Monkeypox.

What to know about health care worker exposure and preventing exposure

Personal protective equipment (PPE) that can prevent the transmission of Monkeypox includes eye protection, an N95 respirator, gown and gloves. Health care workers involved in the care of a patient with Monkeypox are to monitor for symptoms of Monkeypox for 21 days. As a precautionary measure, this monitoring is done even when PPE was worn. There is no restriction from work during the period of self-monitoring providing the person is asymptomatic. Those who develop symptoms potentially consistent with Monkeypox are to stay home.