Monkeypox: What You Need to Know

Newsletter Banner
Muriel Bowser Ward 4




John A. Wilson Building

1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20004


Phone: (202) 727-2643

Chief of Staff:
John Falcicchio

City Administrator:
Kevin Donahue

Director of the Mayor's Office of Legal Counsel:
Eugene Adams

Senior Advisor:
Beverly Perry

Director of Mayor's Office of Community Affairs:
Jackie Reyes-Yanes

Director of Mayor's Office of Community Relations and Services:
Julia Irving

Scheduling Requests:




















July 15, 2022

Letter from the Mayor

Dear Washingtonians,

This week, DC Health launched a pre-registration system for the monkeypox vaccine. Approximately 7,600 people have already pre-registered in the system and about 2,500 appointments have been offered and booked. Eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine is currently limited to those who are most at risk of getting the virus. As more vaccine becomes available, DC Health will reach out to eligible people who have pre-registered so that they can make an appointment. People who are not currently eligible can also pre-register and you will be contacted to make an appointment if eligibility changes.

Some people already know a lot about monkeypox. Some people have read or heard a few things here and there. And some people may be avoiding the topic altogether. To keep ourselves and our community healthy, though, we should all know the basics. You can also learn more about monkeypox and vaccinations at

Monkeypox is a viral illness that can be transmitted from person to person through direct contact with bodily fluids or through contact with the lesions/rash caused by the virus. The main way monkeypox spreads is through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or bodily fluids. Often, it is spread during intimate contact between people, including sex, kissing, hugging, or prolonged face-to-face contact. It can also spread by touching fabrics and other items, such as bedding and towels, that were previously used by an infectious person. Finally, monkeypox can also be spread through respiratory droplets or oral fluids from a person with monkeypox.

Currently, there is a surge in monkeypox cases in countries that don't normally report cases, including here in the United States. Since May, Washington, DC has recorded 105 cases. 

The initial symptoms of monkeypox usually present 7-14 days after exposure and include fever, muscle aches and backache, headache, chills, exhaustion, and sometimes sore throat, cough, and swollen lymph nodes. Then, people develop a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, and/or anus. The lesions can be very painful. You can view examples of the lesions HERE so that you know what to look out for. Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their healthcare provider about whether they need to get tested, even if you don’t think you have had contact with someone who has monkeypox.

If you think you may have monkeypox, you should visit your doctor or go to a clinic to get tested. Health care providers will also help people who are diagnosed with monkeypox understand the isolation process (people with monkeypox will isolate until the lesions scab over, the scabs fall off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed).

You may have heard that the current monkeypox outbreak is primarily affecting people in the LGBTQ+ community and men who have sex with men. That is accurate, and the reason that information is being shared is so that members of the LGBTQ+ community and other people who are at a higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox can take the necessary steps to protect themselves. One of those steps is getting vaccinated. If you are eligible to get vaccinated (read more about eligibility on and not yet vaccinated, you should pre-register HERE. While vaccine supply is currently limited, pre-registering allows DC Health to contact people as vaccine becomes available. Also, if more eligible people pre-register, we can make a stronger case when requesting additional vaccine from the federal government. We have currently received about 8,300 doses of the vaccine and we estimate we will need closer to 100,000 doses to cover the first and second doses of all eligible people. 

That said, it is not only LGBTQ+ people who can get monkeypox, which is why everyone should know the basics and know what to watch out for. Again, the purpose of sharing all this information is so that we can protect ourselves and our community. It is also important that we work together to reduce stigma. Like any health issue, getting monkeypox is not something to be embarrassed about, but it should be taken seriously and health guidance should be followed closely. We should also be mindful about how the people around us are talking about monkeypox; we know from past experiences that stigmatizing or shaming the LGBTQ+ community is dangerous and is not helpful with stopping the spread of a virus. 

Let’s work together to educate ourselves and the people in our circles. We do not want people to panic about monkeypox, but we do want our community to stay informed. If we keep each other informed, we can keep each other healthy.


Muriel Bowser
Monkeypox Vaccine Eligibility

Reach out to friends and family who are eligible for the monkeypox vaccine and make sure they have pre-registered.

In This Week's Newsletter:

Tomorrow: Truck Touch!

Truck Touch

On Saturday, July 16, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., at RFK Stadium, Lot 8, the DC Department of Public Works will host Truck Touch! A host of DC government agencies will present and demonstrate nearly 30 vehicles used to clean and repair streets, change traffic lights, collect refuse, clear snow, provide emergency services, administer mobile health care, and more. Kids will be encouraged to climb into trucks and learn about how they operate. The Department of Parks and Recreation also will provide a range of activities for kids and adults.

Back to Top

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Launching on Saturday, July 16


On July 16, 2022, Washington, DC will join jurisdictions nationwide in launching the three-digit 988 suicide prevention and crisis services lifeline. 

Beginning July 16, anyone experiencing a mental health, substance use, or suicidal crisis will be able to dial 988 and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will connect individuals to locally operated crisis centers. In calling 988, individuals will be connected to compassionate and accessible care and support. Family and friends can also call 988 if they are worried about a loved one who may need crisis support.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline will:

  • Connect people experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis to a trained crisis counselor who can address their immediate needs and connect them to ongoing care if needed.
  • Build on the District’s initiative to divert certain 911 mental health-related crisis calls to mental health specialists and decrease an automatic law enforcement response. 
  • Help end stigma around mental illness and normalize seeking or accessing mental health care. The 988 Lifeline supports a mental health crisis as a health crisis with a clinical response so all residents feel comfortable reaching out for help.

Additionally, the DC Department of Behavioral Health will continue to operate the 24-hour Mental Health Hotline, which can be reached by calling 1-888-793-4357, for anyone who is feeling anxious or depressed or wants to talk about their mental health before it gets to a crisis.

Learn more HERE.

Back to Top

New: DC Health Will Come to Your Home to Administer a COVID-19 Test

At Home COVID Tests

This week, DC Health announced that District residents, especially those who are unable to or have difficulty leaving their homes, now have access to in-home COVID-19 testing services. Appointments can be made by calling the DC Health COVID-19 Call Center at (855) 363-0333. 

At the time of the appointment, a registered nurse will arrive at the resident’s home with both PCR and rapid-antigen testing options and assist with the testing process. Appointments will be available Monday through Saturday. To be eligible for the program you must be a DC resident and the location of the appointment must be a DC address.

DC residents can also make appointments to get vaccinated and boosted at home. 

Learn more HERE.

Back to Top