Mpox Information for Providers

Mpox (formerly monkeypox) is a rare viral disease not often seen in the United States. Anyone can get mpox. Most people recover in 2–4 weeks, but the disease can be serious, especially for children and people who are immune compromised or pregnant. For more general information, see our mpox page.

Immediately report suspected mpox cases.

Complete and fax an intake form to our confidential fax 360-778-6103 and review exposure guidelines to evaluate close contacts.

Call the reporting line: 360-778-6150 with any questions.

How to identify

It can be easy to miss mpox or mistake it for herpes, syphilis, folliculitis or an abscess. 

Early symptoms

  • Fever.
  • Malaise.
  • Headache.
  • Weakness.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.


  • Are well circumscribed, deep seated and often develop umbilication (dot on the top of the lesion).
  • Can be extremely painful.
  • Appear after fever.

Lesions tend to appear and develop at the same time on an affected area of the body—like pustules on face or vesicles on legs. They progress through 4 stages—macular, papular, vesicular and pustular—before they scab and heal in 1–2 weeks.


Mpox mostly spreads through close, physical contact, and is far less likely to be spread in the air.

The virus spreads through contact with:

  • Mpox rash, sores or scabs.
  • Objects, fabrics or surfaces a person with mpox used.
  • Respiratory droplets or oral fluids from a person with mpox.

Mpox can spread as soon as symptoms start until all sores heal and a fresh layer of skin forms. This can be several weeks.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

When you interact with a patient, wear:

  • Gown.
  • Eye protection (i.e., goggles or a face shield that covers the front and sides of the face).
  • Gloves.
  • NIOSH-approved particulate respirator equipped with N95 filters or higher.

How to test

Use a PCR test to collect a sample.

  1. Collect 2 swabs from each lesion on 2 separate sites. Use synthetic swabs (i.e., Dacron, polyester, nylon). Do not use cotton swabs. Vigorously swab lesions. You don’t need to de-roof the lesion before swabbing.
  2. Break off the end of each swab’s applicator into separate screw-capped tube or place swabs in separate sterile containers or viral transport medium (VTM). Do not use universal or other transport media.
  3. Store samples at 2–8° C within an hour of collection. If the testing lab won’t receive the sample within 24 hours, freeze it. Coordinate a plan with your lab manager.

Submit to a lab.

Ask your lab if they test for mpox. Follow the lab’s sample collection procedure. Labs that currently test for mpox:

Washington has no shortage of mpox tests.

How to treat

Use tecovirimat (TPOXX) antiviral medication to treat people who are at high risk of severe disease. Learn more in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) interim clinical guidance.


You’re eligible to get mpox vaccine if you:

Demand for mpox vaccine is high and the supply from CDC remains limited.

Talk to your healthcare provider or local pharmacy to get mpox vaccine.


For clinicians

For patients

Stay up to date

Sign up for email alerts to stay up to date with current information from Whatcom County Health and Community Services.


Contact Whatcom County Health and Community Services at 360-778-6100
  • 360-778-6100 Main Call Line – available M-F 8:30am to 4:30pm.
    • Afterhours Answering Service – available after 4:30pm and weekends, call 360-778-6100 and press 2 to be connected to the on-call manager or health officer.
  • 360-778-6150 Communicable Disease Report Line – 24 hours a day 7 days a week
  • 360-778-6103 Confidential Communicable Disease Fax – 24 hours a day 7 days a week
  • 509 Girard Street, Bellingham WA 98225