2022 Monkeypox Information

Monkeypox is a viral illness with symptoms similar to but typically milder than smallpox. The CDC is tracking an outbreak of monkeypox that has spread across several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including the United States. The Richland County Health Department has enhanced local surveillance and public health preparedness activities to monitor the emerging public health issue of monkeypox and to prepare for a local response.

As of 9-21-22, there are no known or suspected cases of Monkeypox virus in Richland County. 

Case counts and other information on Monkeypox in Montana is available through MT DPHHS.

How It Spreads

Monkeypox spreads in different ways. The virus can spread from person-to-person through:

  • Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
  • Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
  • Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta

Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others. Learn More.

Signs & Symptoms 

In humans, the symptoms of monkeypox are similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, or genitals

Skin lesions may be painful or itchy, and progress through the following stages before falling off:

  • Macules (small and flat)
  • Papules (small bumps)
  • Vesicles (small blisters filled with clear fluid)
  • Pustules (small blisters filled with pus)
  • Crusting & scabbing over

Click here for more information on symptoms and examples of monkeypox rashes.

Risk Factors

Any person exposed to monkeypox virus can develop monkeypox illness. The current conditions of the 2022 global outbreak of monkeypox virus involve a higher risk of exposure to the virus with certain activities, though this may change with ongoing community spread of the virus. People who may be at higher risk under current outbreak conditions might include but are not limited to those who:

  • Had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or with someone who was diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox
  • Had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity
  • Traveled outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing


  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

Reporting Exposure

Monkeypox is a reportable condition. If you believe you have been exposed to an individual who has tested positive for monkeypox, follow these guidelines and contact our 24/7 line at 406-480-9221.


Montana has received limited doses of Jynneos vaccine authorized for use to prevent monkeypox. Jynneos is a two-dose series, given approximately four weeks apart. RCHD is the designated vaccine hub for Eastern Montana, meaning that we have vaccine available for anyone in Eastern Montana meeting the criteria for vaccination. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, following the CDC vaccination recommendations, has set forth specific criteria to receive the vaccine. For vaccine screening, contact your local health department.

Please contact the Health Department should you have questions regarding Monkeypox exposure or vaccination at 406-433-2207.