What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the Monkeypox virus with cases usually occurring in Central and West Africa. It is an Orthopoxvirus that is closely related to the virus that causes Smallpox. In previous outbreaks, Monkeypox has spread from animals to humans with reservoirs including rope and tree squirrels, prairie dogs, and monkeys.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back aches, lymphadenopathy, chills, and exhaustion followed by a rash within 1-3 days after the appearance of fever. The rash typically begins on the face then spreads to other parts of the body. Atypical presentation would consist of the rash being the first or only symptom to develop. The illness can last 2 to 4 weeks with the contrarious period ending once the lesions have scabbed, fallen off and new skin appears.

How is monkeypox transmitted?

Monkeypox can spread primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, respiratory droplets, mucous secretions, or contact with contaminated materials such as bedding. The current outbreak has shown that close intimate contact between people, wrestling, kissing, touching, hugging, or sex have been common exposures.

The incubation period for Monkeypox is usually 7 to 14 days but can range from 5 to 21 days. Anyone exposed to Monkeypox should be monitor for symptoms for 21 days.

Visual Examples of Monkeypox Rash

Visual Example 1

Visual Example 2


There are five commercial laboratory companies with the capacity of conducting 10,000 orthopoxvirus tests a week. These labs include Aegis Science, LabCorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and Sonic Healthcare. Testing is also still available through the Texas Department of State Health Services Laboratory for patients who meet the state’s testing criteria. Providers are encouraged to conduct differential diagnosis when testing for Monkeypox.


Monkeypox has been designated immediately notifiable. Medical providers who have a suspected case of Monkeypox or submit a specimen to your commercial lab for testing are required to fax reports along with progress notes to Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Epidemiology and Surveillance Division at (956) 318-2431. 


Information for Healthcare Providers on Obtaining and Using TPOXX (Tecovirimat) for Treatment of Monkeypox has been made available on the CDC website

The JYNNEOS vaccine is licensed by the FDA for use in the prevention of smallpox or Monkeypox in people ages 18 years and older. This is a two-dose vaccine given 28 days apart and are considered fully vaccinated about two weeks after their second shot. Post exposure prophylaxis is recommended to occur within the first 4 days of exposure to potentially prevent disease.

Current Vaccine Eligibility: 

People 18 years of age and older who:

  • Have had high-risk exposure to a person with Monkeypox
  • Were diagnosed with chlamydia, gonorrhea, or early syphilis within the past 3-6 months
  • Have had a history of HIV in the last 3-6 months
  • Are men who have sex with men and have had multiple or anonymous sex partners within the past 21 days
  • Have a sex partner who is showing symptoms of Monkeypox such as a rash or sores

Due to the limited amount of vaccines allocated, Hidalgo County Health and Human Services will not be able to vaccinate everyone that meets the criteria above. Hidalgo County residents that do not meet the current eligibility criteria will not receive the vaccine at this time. 

Monkeypox case counts can be found on the CDC website for worldwide and US cases; Texas case counts can also be found in that second link and the DSHS website. For additional information visit:

For more information regarding local Monkeypox testing, vaccinations, and guidance, please call our Epidemiology and Surveillance Division at: 956-318-2426


Monkeypox Testing through DSHS

Monkeypox Advisory Information

Updated 8/17/22