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LAW Home > Legal Topics > Health Care > Rights Connected with Special Medical Problems > MPX Virus

Monkeypox (MPX) Declared a Public Health Emergency



What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox (MPX) is a disease caused by a viral infection.

Unusually, MPX cases have been spreading around the world since May 2022. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have declared the MPX outbreak a public health emergency. As of August 17, there were 367 probable and confirmed cases in New Jersey.

MPX spreads through direct contact with an infected person, animal, or materials. This can include contact with infectious rash, scabs, lesions, body fluids, respiratory secretions, oral fluids, or material contaminated with the virus, such as clothing or bedding.

While the virus can spread via respiratory droplets and contaminated surfaces, MPX is currently spreading primarily via direct skin-to-skin contact, including during sex. It is important to remember that anyone can get and spread MPX. The virus can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, which can take several weeks.

Symptoms can include flu-like symptoms (fever, headache, sore throat, lack of energy, back and muscle aches), swollen lymph nodes, and a rash or lesions. Symptoms typically appear within three weeks of exposure and last two-to-four weeks. Although rare, severe cases resulting in death can occur.


The following can prevent infection with MPX:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have MPX, or a rash that looks like MPX.
  • Avoid contact with materials, such as bedding, towels, clothing, etc., that have been in contact with an infected person.
  • Wash your hands well and often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for someone who is affected.
  • When making plans, consider the level of risk. If you feel sick or have a rash, do not attend gatherings.
  • If you, your household members, or your partner(s) feel sick or have a new or unexpected rash or sore, avoid close physical contact and gatherings until you have talked to a health care provider. If you and a partner decide to have close physical contact, cover sores and wash your hands. Follow the CDC’s guidance for safer sex: Monkeypox and Safer Sex.

What to do if you think you may have MPX

  • Report confirmed or suspected cases to your local health department. Seek medical care immediately.
  • Call ahead before you arrive at the doctor’s office, urgent care center, or hospital so they can isolate you from other patients.
  • Self-monitor for the development of symptoms for 21 days following potential exposure and avoid close contact with young children, pregnant people, and immunocompromised individuals. (If symptoms appear, self-isolate as much as you can, avoid close contact with others, and contact a doctor.)
  • Wear a mask to prevent spread via respiratory droplets.
  • Cover sores with clothing or sealed bandages and avoid touching the rash.
  • Ask your close contacts and sexual partners if they have similar symptoms.


A vaccine called JYNNEOS is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the prevention of smallpox and MPX in adults 18 years or older. The vaccine is usually administered as a two-dose series: two injections, four weeks apart. Due to limited supply and the public health emergency, alternate regimens have also been authorized. When properly administered before exposure, the vaccine can protect people from getting MPX. If administered soon after exposure, the vaccine may still prevent disease or reduce symptoms.

Who can get vaccinated in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the vaccine is free and currently available to:

  • Residents with known exposure to someone who tested positive MPX in the past 14 days.
  • Residents who attended an event where known MPX exposure occurred in the past 14 days.
  • People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in areas where MPX has been reported.
  • Any New Jerseyans who attest to their eligibility are eligible for vaccination.
  • People who have a condition that may increase their risk for severe disease are considered high priority for vaccination, if they also meet the eligibility criteria above. This includes people who have a weakened immune system or history of atopic dermatitis or eczema.

Expanded vaccination efforts will continue to prioritize groups that have been disproportionately affected by MPX. This may change over time.

How to get vaccinated in New Jersey

If you have been exposed to a confirmed MPX case, you can get the JYNNEOS vaccine through your local health department. See Find and Contact Your Local Health Department (from the CDC).

If you have not been confirmed as a close contact but believe you have been exposed to MPX in the past 14 days or are considered high risk for exposure to MPX, you may be eligible for the vaccine via the community partners and vaccination sites listed below. Unless walk-up events are specifically announced, vaccinations are by appointment only.

  • Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, Annex 2 (white tent structure), 230 East Ridgewood Ave., Paramus,
  • Eric B. Chandler Health Center, 277 George St., New Brunswick, 732-235-6733.
  • Cooper Vaccine Clinic, Cooper University Hospital, 300 Broadway, Camden. Appointment only: call 856-968-7100, Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., or make an appointment online anytime at MyCooper.
  • Hyacinth AIDS Foundation/Project Living Out Loud!, Jersey City, 201-706-3480.
  • North Jersey Community Research Initiative (NJCRI), Newark, 973-483-3444, ext. 200.
  • Passaic County Health Department, 930 Riverview, Rear, Suite 250, Totowa, 973-881- 4396.
  • The Prevention Resource Network, a program of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey, Asbury Park, 732-502-5100,
  • University Hospital, 140 Bergen St., Level D, Room 1650, Newark, 973-972-8906 (Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
  • Zufall Health Center, 18 West Blackwell St., Dover, 973-891-3419.

Be sure to ask the vaccination site what you need to bring with you.

New Jersey currently has a very limited vaccine supply. Follow vaccination providers on social media and/or call back for updates regarding availability. New Jersey expects additional vaccine doses from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and will expand vaccine access accordingly.

For additional information and updated information, go to the New Jersey Department of Health's MonkeyPox page.​​​