• Mpox is a relatively rare disease caused by infection with the mpox virus, which is related to the smallpox virus. While less severe and much less contagious than smallpox, mpox can be a serious illness and seeing a doctor right away is important. 
  • Mpox spreads from infected humans, animals, and materials contaminated with the virus but primarily through close, personal, skin-to-skin contact with people who have mpox symptoms, such as rash and sores. 
  • Having sex or close physical contact with multiple people can put you at higher risk for monkeypox if it is spreading in the community.
  • It appears as a distinctive rash or sores on the skin anywhere on the body, especially in the genital area. It often begins as flu-like symptoms.
  • It is possible that pets could become infected or contaminated with the virus through close contact with an infected person and spread the virus to others.
  • We are working with state and federal agencies to monitor for monkeypox, and to help control the spread of the virus.

Here are some images* of what mpox can look like (click on image to enlarge):

* “Mpox rash” by NHS England High Consequence Infectious Diseases Network

  • Cover exposed skin in crowds
  • Don't share bedding or clothing with others
  • Talk to close physical and sexual contacts about their general health like recent rashes or sores
  • Stay aware if traveling to countries where there are outbreaks


  • Direct skin-to-skin contact with the sores and scabs of people with mpox
  • Direct contact with body fluids of people with mpox, such as drainage from skin sores or saliva that was in contact with mouth sores
  • Contact with the respiratory secretions of people with mpox, such as saliva, during prolonged face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
  • Touching items (such as bedding, towels, clothing, cups and utensils) that previously touched the sores or body fluids of people with mpox
  • For more information, visit Mpox Questions & Answers
  • Cover the area of the rash with clean, dry, loose-fitting clothing
  • Wear a well-fitted mask
  • Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others
  • Help to protect friends, family and sex partners by talking with your medical provider and public health worker(s). 
  • See the CDC webpage Pets in the Home for information about what do if you have a pet
  • If you do not have healthcare provider or coverage, contact (831) 454-4114

Screen regularly for sexually transmitted infections. Syphilis and herpes are much more common than Mpox – they appear similar and should be treated too.

Mpox Vaccine

The Jynneos vaccine is for preventative use only and is a two-dose vaccine that is administered 28 days apart and has been approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration for safe and effective monkeypox prevention.

We are working with healthcare systems to expand the locations of vaccines to their members and patients, while ensuring an equitable distribution to people who are uninsured, disconnected from care, or are from underserved communities.

While there is currently adequate vaccine supply, vaccine providers can offer vaccine to any patients who MAY be at risk. Persons who request vaccination should receive it without having to attest to specific risk factors. For complete guidelines, visit: CDPH, Considerations for Mpox Vaccination in California (11/15/2022).

How to Access Vaccine

Public Health is working closely with health care partners to offer the Jynneos vaccine.

Contact your healthcare provider to find out if you’re eligible to receive the Jynneos vaccine and schedule an appointment. If you’re uninsured and need support finding a Jynneos vaccine appointment, please email immunizations@santacruzcounty.us.

For Sutter/PAMF patients only:

Eligible patients can schedule a vaccine appointment by calling (833) 437-1830, Monday – Friday, 7:00 am – 6:00 pm. Appointment availability remains limited due to supply. Additional appointments will open as vaccine supply increases. For additional information and updates, patients may visit the Sutter Health Mpox Webpage. If you are eligible and unable to get an appointment, please call your healthcare provider.

Vaccine Resources


California Dept of Public Health (CDPH) Mpox Information and Alerts

CDC Mpox Information

If you have questions or need information regarding possible Mpox cases
call the Public Health Department Communicable Disease Unit at (831) 454-4114