Meritus Health is currently monitoring this potential health crisis and will provide updates as needed.


Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and 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, genitals, or anus.

The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.

Prevention Steps

hand washing

Take the following steps to prevent getting monkeypox:

  • 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.

If you are sick with monkeypox:

  • Isolate at home
  • If you have an active rash or other symptoms, stay in a separate room or area away from people or pets you live with, when possible.

Not sure if your symptoms are monkeypox? Contact your PCP office for guidance.

Testing for monkeypox is being offered at the Meritus Medical Laboratory located on Crayton Boulevard. Patients will need an order from a provider, either their PCP, Meritus Urgent Care or MeritusNow to be able to be tested.

Steps for getting tested:

  • Obtain an order from your physician for monkeypox testing.
  • Call the laboratory at Crayton Blvd., (301-790-8670) to schedule an appointment.
  • Upon arrival, park in front of the lab, remain in your vehicle and call the lab (301-790-8670).
  • Staff will escort you into the facility for swabbing.
  • Order is placed and swab is collected.
  • Any follow up needed will be provided via the physician who created the order.
    • At this time, testing is not being performed in-house, and we expect to receive results approximately 5-7 days after a test is collected.
    • The diagnostics company Cepheid has submitted to the FDA for emergency use authorization for testing kits. If approved, we would anticipate having availability for local testing and improved turnaround time within weeks.


CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox, including:

  • People who have been identified by public health officials as a contact of someone with monkeypox
  • People who may have been exposed to monkeypox, such as:
    • People who are aware that one of their sexual partners in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with monkeypox
    • People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known monkeypox
  • People whose jobs may expose them to orthopoxviruses, such as:
    • Laboratory workers who perform testing for orthopoxviruses
    • Laboratory workers who handle cultures or animals with orthopoxviruses
    • Some designated healthcare or public health workers