Danforth Campus Students:

Mpox has spread throughout the United States however, the current risk to the general public remains low.

What is mpox?

Mpox is uncommon disease caused by infection with a pox virus. Mpox is part of the same family of viruses that cause smallpox. Two main strains of the mpox virus are known to exist; the milder strain is currently circulating. Mpox is not related to chickenpox.

While the LGBTQIA+ community has been impacted significantly, mpox can affect anyone regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, and we are examining and preparing our entire community for the possibility of cases on campus.

What are the symptoms of mpox?

Mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and mpox is rarely fatal. It might start with symptoms like the flu, with fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes and general body aches. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the person can develop a rash or sores.  People with mpox may experience all or only a few of these symptoms however most will develop the rash or sores somewhere on their body (including only inside the mouth, rectum or vagina). Symptoms usually start within two weeks of exposure to the virus, but can occur up to three weeks later. The illness is usually mild, although can be painful and result in permanent scarring. Severe cases may occur in young children, pregnant people, or people with suppressed immune systems (including those with HIV).

How is mpox spread?

The most common route of transmission is direct physical contact with mpox rash, sores, or scabs (often through sexual and other close/intimate touch).

Other routes of transmission include:

  • Through respiratory droplets or oral fluids (e.g., saliva) shared during kissing or other prolonged face-to-face contact
  • Contact with objects or fabrics (e.g., clothing, bedding, or towels) that have been used by someone with mpox

Mpox is not spread through casual brief conversations or walking by someone with mypox.

Who is at risk?

Depending on behavior, anyone in close contact with someone who has mpox could become infected. (See “How is it spread?” above.)

Public health data indicate that during this current outbreak, some populations are being infected by mpox more than others. Among U.S. mpox cases with available data, 99% occurred in men, 94% of whom reported recent male-to-male sexual or close intimate contact.

However, transmission is a function of behavior, not identities. (See “How is it spread?” above.)

Is there a vaccine?

Yes. Vaccination helps to protect against mpox when given before or shortly after an exposure. In the United States, JYNNEOS is the mpox vaccine being offered and administered in these situations. Vaccination is being prioritized for individuals at the highest risk. Habif Health and Wellness is working to coordinate vaccine availability for Danforth campus students. If you are interested in being vaccinated, please send a confidential request to Habif.

Are there other ways to prevent the disease?

Given that the mpox vaccine supply is still limited, you can reduce the chance of acquiring or spreading the virus when you:

  • Limit the number of close / intimate contacts and follow additional safer sex tips provided by the CDC
  • Avoid sharing personal items and objects, towels, bedding, clothing
  • Request medical evaluation and testing if symptoms arise
  • Follow isolation instructions if provided by your healthcare provider
  • Get vaccinated (if eligible]) when vaccine is available


Antiviral medications may be appropriate to treat mpox symptoms. Where available, vaccination can reduce the chance and severity of infection in those who have been exposed. They may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.

How is the campus preparing?

Habif Medical Services providers have been trained in identifying mpox, and our laboratory is prepared to collect and send samples for testing.  We continue to work closely with our infectious disease colleagues on the medical campus regarding treatment of mpox and with the St. Louis Public Health Department regarding prevention and mitigation. There are plans for isolation spaces for students living on campus who contract mpox and need to be isolated until the infectious period has passed.

What to do if you have had an exposure or symptoms

If you have had an exposure, have symptoms you are concerned about, or need to speak with someone about your risk, please reach out to Habif Medical Services. Students can schedule appointments Monday-Friday by calling (314) 935-4959, or speak with a health care provider after-hours and weekends by accessing TimelyCare through the TimelyCare app.

We understand that news of a new infectious disease on top of the last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic can be concerning and result in feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. Mental health resources are available through the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services.

More information

For additional information, please visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the St. Louis County Public Health Department.


February 2024

As additional information becomes available, we will update this page.