Mpox (Monkeypox)

Mpox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with the mpox virus. The mpox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus, which includes the variola (smallpox) virus as well as the vaccinia virus, which is used in the smallpox vaccine. Mpox is a public health concern because it can be transmitted person-to-person and can cause severe disease in humans. Although mpox virus is in the same family of viruses as smallpox, it is less transmissible and typically less severe than smallpox.

Mpox was first identified in 1958 and primarily occurs in Central and West African countries. Historically, mpox has been rare in the U.S. and has mostly been related to international travel or the importation of animals. In 2022, there has been a significant increase in reported cases in locations where mpox is not commonly seen, including Europe, Canada, and the United States, including California. While it's good to stay alert about any emerging public health outbreaks, the current risk of mpox for the general public is very low.

Mpox in Kern County

Number of Probable/Confirmed Cases


as of December 21, 2022

NOTE: A confirmed case has tested positive specifically for mpox virus. A probable case has tested positive for orthopox virus with no suspicion of other recent orthopox exposure.

Looking for an mpox vaccination?

  • Contact your healthcare provider
  • Call (661) 321-3000 to make an appointment at the Kern County Public Health Services Department
  • Check MyTurn for other options.