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Environmental Health


What is Mpox?

Mpox is a disease caused by a virus not commonly seen in the United States. However, there is an ongoing, global outbreak and mpox cases have been found in the United States, including in Nevada.

Mpox virus is related to the virus that causes smallpox, but mpox is typically less severe than smallpox and is rarely fatal. Mpox often causes a painful or itchy rash and sometimes causes flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches, or other symptoms. Mpox virus is not related to chickenpox.

Mpox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact. Following the recommended prevention steps can help protect you and your community.

How to Reduce the Spread of Mpox in Congregate Living Settings

If Mpox is introduced into a facility in which people live in close proximity, it could spread within the facility. Following prevention recommendations can help keep residents, staff and volunteers healthy.

Visit the CDC website for the most up-to-date information regarding reducing Mpox transmission in congregate living settings.

Recognize Symptoms of Mpox

Staff, volunteers, and residents should be aware of Mpox symptoms. Mpox often causes a painful or itchy rash that can initially look like pimples or blisters but goes through several stages, including scabs, before healing. Some people also have flu-like symptoms before or after the rash appears.

Report suspected cases of Mpox to Local Health Authorities

Local public health authorities must be notified of all residents, staff or volunteers who might have Mpox. Public health officials can also provide guidance on cleaning and disinfecting, exposure and isolation, vaccination and treatment options. If someone associated with your facility might have Mpox, immediately contact the local public health authority for the county where the facility is located.

  • Report any suspected outbreak by email to
    • Also call your facility’s local health authority (see list below).
  • Clark County — Southern Nevada Health District
    • 702-759-1300 (24 hours)
  • Washoe County — Washoe County Health District
    • 775-328-2447 (24 hours)
  • Carson, Douglas, and Lyon counties — Carson City Health and Human Services
    • 775-887-2190 (24 hours)
  • All other Nevada counties — Division of Public and Behavioral Health
    • 775-684-5911 (M to F 8 am to 5 pm)
    • 775-400-0333 (after hours)

Understand How Mpox Spreads

Mpox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed, which typically takes two to four weeks. Anyone can get Mpox through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact including:

  • During prolonged face-to-face or intimate physical contact with someone who has Mpox.
  • Through direct contact with rash, scabs, or body fluids of someone who has Mpox.
  • By touching items like clothing, towels or bedsheets after being touched by rash or body fluids of someone who has Mpox.
  • Through the placenta from a pregnant woman who has Mpox to a fetus.
  • By being scratched or bitten by an infected animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

Communicate with Staff, Volunteers and Residents

Provide clear information to staff, volunteers and residents about Mpox prevention, including the potential for transmission through close, sustained physical contact, including sexual activity. Provide prevention guidance including considerations for safer sex. Keep messages fact-based to avoid introducing stigma when communicating about Mpox.

Prevent Additional Exposures

Staff, volunteers or residents who might have Mpox should be seen by a health care provider and tested for Mpox. People who have had a high degree of exposure to someone with Mpox might benefit from vaccination. Contact the local health authority as soon as Mpox is suspected to help ensure the best care possible is provided for the person who is sick and their close contacts.

Anyone who is identified to have Mpox should isolate away from others until all scabs fall off and a fresh layer of healthy skin has formed. Staff or volunteers who have Mpox should isolate at home until they are fully recovered. Flexible, non-punitive sick leave policies for staff members are critical to prevent spread of Mpox.

Resident isolation spaces should have a door that can be closed and a dedicated bathroom that is not used by people who are not ill. Residents who test positive for Mpox can stay in the same room. If residents with Mpox need to leave the isolation area or if an isolation area is not available, they should wear a well-fitting disposable mask over their nose and mouth and cover any skin lesions with long pants, long sleeves, and gloves. Reduce the number of staff who enter the isolation areas to staff who are essential to isolation area operations.

Provide Adequate Personal Protective Equipment and Training 

Employers are responsible for ensuring that workers are protected from exposure to Mpox and that workers are not exposed to harmful levels of chemicals used for cleaning and disinfection. Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be worn by staff, volunteers or residents in the following circumstances:

  • Entering isolation areas — Staff who enter isolation areas should wear a gown, gloves, eye protection and a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) approved particulate respirator equipped with N95 filters or higher. If the facility requires an employee to wear an N95 mask or a respirator, proper Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) respiratory guidelines must be followed, including fit testing and a mandatory training program.
  • Laundry — Anyone handling soiled laundry from people with known or suspected Mpox infection should wear a gown, gloves, eye protection and a well-fitting mask or respirator. Soiled laundry should be gently and promptly contained in a laundry bag and never be shaken or handled in a manner that may disperse infectious material. Linens can be laundered using regular detergent and warm water. PPE is not necessary after the wash cycle is completed. Covering mattresses in isolation areas with sheets, blankets or a plastic cover can facilitate easier laundering.
  • Cleaning and disinfection — Anyone cleaning areas where people with Mpox spent time should wear a gown, gloves, eye protection or face shield, and a well-fitting mask or respirator.

Clean and Disinfect

In addition to frequent, routine cleaning of communal areas, areas where people with Mpox spent time and items they touched while ill should be cleaned and disinfected. Avoid activities that could spread dried material from lesions, such as the use of fans, dry dusting, sweeping, or vacuuming. A disinfectant with an Emerging Viral Pathogens claim from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s List Q should be used in accordance with manufacturer directions.

Properly Dispose of Contaminated Waste

Manage waste from isolation areas (i.e., handling, storage, treatment and disposal of soiled PPE, patient dressings, etc.) in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR, Parts 171-180.). Waste from patients during the current outbreak is classified as regulated medical waste (Category B). Visit the Environmental Compliance Assistance Platform to learn more about how to properly handle regulated medical waste in Nevada.

Disinfection and Housekeeping Guidance for Mpox