Public Health & Preventing Disease


Mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, is a viral disease that recently has been reported in the U.S. and countries around the world that haven’t usually seen outbreaks. Mpox cases are continuing to increase steadily in the U.S.
Anyone can be infected with this virus, but most recent U.S. cases have been reported in men who have sex with men they met at social events, such as bars or parties, or using online apps.

How mpox spreads

  • Prolonged face-to-face contact with an infected person’s respiratory droplets, such as kissing.
  • Touching mpox rash on skin.
  • Contact with bodily fluids of an infected person.
  • Contact with contaminated objects, such as clothing and bedding.


  • A rash with fluid-filled bumps, especially on the face, palms, arms, legs, genitals or anal area.
  • May also include fever, headache, muscle aches, backaches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion.

Protect yourself

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has a rash of unknown cause.
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with mpox.
  •  Do not touch the bedding, towels or clothing of a person with mpox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • If you have a rash of unknown cause, consult your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has mpox.
  • Stay home if you are sick with mpox. If you have an active rash or other symptoms, stay in a separate room or area away from people and pets as much as possible. Symptoms usually resolve in 2-4 weeks.

Vaccine information

The mpox vaccine is a 2-dose series given before a risk of exposure OR between 4-14 days after the date of exposure to person who has mpox but before symptoms appear.
Full immunity is reached 2 weeks after the second dose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services have determined that the following people are most at risk of getting mpox and should consider getting vaccinated:

  • People who have had a close contact with a person who has mpox.
  • People with certain risk factors that make them more likely to have been recently exposed to mpox.
  • People who have recently had multiple or anonymous sexual partners.
  • Partners of people who have had multiple or anonymous sexual partners.
  • Sex workers.
  • Staff at establishments where sexual activity occurs (e.g. bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs).
  • People who were diagnosed with gonorrhea or early syphilis within the last 12 months.
  • People experiencing homelessness with high-risk behaviors.
  • People on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis.
  • People who are part of high-risk cohorts identified by clinical staff in the correctional system.
  • Individuals deemed to have high risk based on individual risk assessments.

Note: Eligible people who are immunocompromised (e.g., those with advanced or uncontrolled HIV) or those who have underlying medical conditions that confer increased risk for severe disease (e.g., atopic dermatitis, eczema) could be prioritized for vaccination.

To learn more about vaccine eligibility, contact RiverStone Health Public Health at 406.247.3396, or fill out this confidential form online:

News releases

Other helpful mpox information:

RiverStone Health Public Health Information Line
123 South 27th Street
Billings, Montana 59101
Phone: 406.247.3396
Fax: 406.651.6430

Hours: Monday – Friday, 8am-5pm