Monkeypox is currently spreading among men who have sex with men in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties. If you have a rash, sores, or flu-like symptoms, it could be monkeypox; or it could be an STD like Syphilis. Get tested and treated. 

See Testing & Treatment Info Below

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a virus that is spread through close physical contact. A majority of monkeypox cases in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties have been among men who reported sexual or close intimate contact with other men.  

The main symptoms of monkeypox are a painful rash and sores on one’s face, mouth, hands and feet, chest, genitals and anus. 

People who get monkeypox often develop flu-like symptoms first: 

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Exhaustion
  • Headache and muscle aches

However, the symptoms of monkeypox vary a lot. Many people with the infection never get a flu-like illness and the first thing they notice is a rash or sores. Some people report that their first symptom is rectal pain.

Symptoms usually start within 1-3 weeks of exposure to the virus. Monkeypox is rarely fatal, and most people recover in 2-4 weeks.

Monkeypox Photos


How is monkeypox transmitted?

Monkeypox is contagious, and spreads by:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, sores, scabs, or the mucous membranes (mouth, anus) of a person with monkeypox
  • Sex and other intimate skin-to-skin contact.
  • Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Kissing and other face-to-face contact through respiratory droplets or oral fluids (saliva).

How can I protect myself from getting monkeypox?

The current recommendations are to:

  • Decrease your number of sex and intimate contact partners.
  • Avoid sex parties and public sex venues, like bathhouses, and gatherings involving skin-to-skin contact.
  • Cover exposed skin while in dense crowds. 
  • Be mindful that activities, like kissing, can still spread monkeypox even at events where attendees are fully clothed and unlikely to have skin-to-skin contact.
  • Avoid sharing bedding, clothing, and food or drink with others. 
  • Ask close physical contacts about their general health and recent rashes or sores. 
  • Be aware when traveling to countries where there are outbreaks. 

What about testing and treatment?

If you or your partners feel sick, or have any rashes or sores:

  • Avoid sex, gatherings, and prolonged skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact.
  • Visit your doctor to get tested and treated for monkeypox.
  • Request an STD screening to rule out syphilis or other infections.

If you don’t have a doctor or health insurance, you can get tested and treated for monkeypox,
and STDs, at the Public Health – Seattle & King County Sexual Health Clinic at Harborview, open
M/W/TH/F, 7:30 am – 6:00 pm and Tuesday 9:30 am – 6:00 pm.

Is there a monkeypox vaccine?

Yes, and the vaccine is free. Currently, Public Health – Seattle & King County's Sexual Health Clinic at Harborview is offering the vaccine to walk-ins; no appointment is necessary. Some doctors are also vaccinating individuals who have been in contact with monkeypox or are at high risk for monkeypox. King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties have received a very limited supply of the vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) is planning to send more vaccine to our area later in the summer and fall, and doctors expect to be able to vaccinate many more people in the coming months.

Note: The vaccine is estimated to be 85% effective after two doses. So other prevention measures should still be considered.​​​​​​

Who is eligible for vaccine now?