What is mpox?
Mpox is a rare disease that is part of the same family of viruses that cause smallpox. While the symptoms are similar to smallpox, they are much less severe and are rarely fatal. Anyone can get mpox, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is carefully monitoring this virus in the United States.
Most commonly, mpox is transmitted through direct, often skin-to-skin, contact with an infected person’s body fluids or mpox lesions. It is important to note that mpox is completely different from the virus that causes COVID-19, especially in terms of how it spreads. The mpox virus is not known to linger in the air and is not transmitted during short periods of shared airspace, making it unlikely to spread in classroom settings. At this time, most students are considered to be at low risk.
For more information on mpox for Coloradans, visit the Colorado Department of Health & Environment website.
What you can do?
Because current information indicates that mpox spreads through close, personal contact with an infected person, there are many ways to protect yourself. The CDC recommends avoiding close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like mpox, avoiding contact with objects and materials a person with mpox has used, and practicing frequent hand washing, especially before eating or touching your face.
If you are exposed or have symptoms, you are advised to stay at home (isolate) until your mpox rash has healed and a new layer of skin has formed and all other symptoms have resolved. Staying away from other people and not sharing things you have touched with others will help prevent the spread (Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage). Students, faculty and staff who are symptomatic should contact their physician for treatment.
Some people who have been recently exposed to mpox should get a vaccine called Jynneos. The vaccine lowers your chance of getting mpox if you may have been exposed and can also reduce the severity of symptoms if you do get sick later on. The vaccine can also reduce the severity of your symptoms if you do get sick later on. People who already have symptoms (fever, rash, body aches, respiratory symptoms, etc.) should not get vaccinated.
For local residents, Gunnison County Public Health has limited access to vaccinations. To see if you qualify, set up an appointment or request more information, please call the Gunnison County Department of Health and Human Services at 970.641.3244.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is hosting a limited number of free vaccine clinics for eligible Coloradans. Request a vaccine appointment using this form. Appointment requests will be made available based on extremely limited vaccine allotment from the federal government.
Where to get tested
People who are experiencing symptoms of mpox or think they have been exposed should contact Gunnison County HHS, which is one of five locations in the state that provides testing. People looking to get tested, or with questions regarding a possible exposure, can call HHS at 970.641.3244.
If you test positive for mpox, follow CDC guidance and stay home, wear a well-fitting mask around other people until the rash and all other symptoms have resolved, eat healthy and get plenty of rest to allow your body to heal. Contact your healthcare provider if pain becomes severe and unmanageable at home.
Take the Next Step
Apply to Western
We understand that applying to a university can be daunting, which is why we make our admission process as simple and straightforward as possible. Learn more about applying to your program of choice at Western.
The best way to find out what makes Western such a special place is to experience it for yourself. Our student-led tours give you an insider’s perspective on everything from academics to student life.
We keep the Mountaineer spirit going strong within our alumni community. Whether getting together with friends at an annual event, making a donation or mentoring a student, graduates continue to play an important role in the Western community.