Home VDH reports mpox outbreak in Virginia; tips to protect yourself against infection
Health, Virginia

VDH reports mpox outbreak in Virginia; tips to protect yourself against infection

Crystal Graham
hands showing mpox rash infection
(© Marina Demidiuk – stock.adobe.com)

A recent increase in mpox cases in Virginia has the Department of Health encouraging those most at risk to consider a vaccine.

Since the beginning of the year, 12 mpox cases have been reported to VDH from the Central, Eastern, Northern and Northwest health regions. Four patients with mpox required hospitalization, six were co-infected with HIV and none had been previously vaccinated.

For comparison, there were 12 reported mpox cases in all of 2023, and all were from the Northern health region.

Mpox is caused by the monkeypox virus.

Most people infected with mpox during this outbreak have been gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, but anyone can get mpox, according to VDH.

VDH recommends those most at risk to get vaccinated (94 percent men; 90 percent ages 20-49) with two doses of the Jynneos vaccine. The vaccine protects against mpox infection and can lessen illness severity if you get mpox.

Mpox spreads through close, sustained physical contact. When thinking about how to lower the chance of getting mpox at events like raves, parties, clubs and festivals, consider how much close, personal, skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur.

Signs and symptoms of mpox

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • A new, unexplained rash that might be painful

Tips to prevent mpox

  • Clothing that covers skin allows for better protection at events where there may be higher levels of close contact
  • Do not share personal items and avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone with confirmed mpox or a new, unexplained rash

If you have mpox or symptoms of mpox, VDH suggests you talk with your healthcare provider about getting tested, even if you have been vaccinated. Stay at home and away from other people and animals until your mpox rash has healed and a new layer of skin has formed.

For more information about mpox illness, vaccination or treatment options, call 877-VAX-IN-VA.


Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.