CDC’s Monkeypox Toolkit for Event Organizers

WHO should use this toolkit? Event organizers, bar and nightclub owners, owners and managers of businesses such as hotels, saunas, sex-on-premises venues, and others who are working to prevent monkeypox.

WHAT is this toolkit about? This toolkit serves as a ready-to-use resource on how to promote monkeypox prevention strategies for large gathering or social events. This guide does not address administration of vaccines in conjunction with events. For information about vaccine strategies, refer to your local health department.

HOW should I use this toolkit? Messages and actions are included for use before, during, and after an event. You can share these materials through your platforms and channels as is or rebrand them.

Large gatherings and social events are great opportunities for people to connect and enjoy themselves. This toolkit is designed to help organize events safely and can be a starting point for conversations between event organizers and local, tribal, state, and federal public health authorities. As an event organizer, you have an important opportunity to help people at your event learn about monkeypox and how to protect their health.

CDC Resources for Monkeypox

Access Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monkeypox print and digital testing, treatment, and prevention materials:

This toolkit provides public health advice to event organizers and professional staff involved in the planning and delivery of large gatherings and social events.

Large and social gatherings where attendees are crowded together and moving around can lead to close, prolonged, and frequent interactions between people. They may also be associated with behaviors, like having sex with a new partner you met at the event, that contribute to the spread of monkeypox.

Risks that increase exposure to monkeypox should be considered when planning an event.  Postponing or cancelling gatherings that draw large numbers of attendees who may be at increased risk for monkeypox or in areas where monkeypox cases have been identified is not required as a default measure. These events can be used as opportunities to reach out to many people at once and educate them about monkeypox.

Take Steps to Reduce the Spread of Monkeypox

By working with local health authorities, event organizers can play a key role in reducing the spread of monkeypox and protecting people’s health by providing accurate information and promoting disease prevention. You can plan your efforts by considering how participants will likely interact while at the event.

Disseminate accurate information

  • You can find the most up-to-date information on monkeypox at: cdc.gov/monkeypox
  • Use messages to communicate with your attendees before, during, and after the event. Use simple and visual content in relevant languages.

Pre-event:

  • Engage with local health authorities to coordinate messages. Consider allowing health authorities to set up booths or tents to provide information and on-site services, if feasible and appropriate.
  • Consider including information on registration forms and ticket purchasing pages.
  • Share information on the event website and social media channels. This could include sharing interviews with trusted spokespersons featured on news websites, podcasts, and other media used by eventgoers.
  • Use text blasts (i.e., SMS text messages from a single source sent to a large group of people simultaneously), email, and direct messages to participants.
  • If relevant, include information in newsletters and other mediums where your event may be advertised.
  • If there is an event app, send push notifications to users. Integrate monkeypox information into the app.

During event:

  • Consider the use of big screens, banners, posters (e.g., at entrances to the event, eye-level above urinals, or on the back of toilet doors), and talking points for stage announcements included in this toolkit.
  • Encourage event talent (e.g., performers, musicians, DJs) to share non-stigmatizing, fact-based prevention messages.
  • If resources allow work with popular apps to send messages to attendees during the event (known as geo-fencing).
  • Engage and involve event staff and volunteers. Make sure they know where to obtain information if asked by an event participant.

Post-event:

  • After the event, consider providing health information and guidance on how to recognize monkeypox symptoms and when to seek medical advice on your websites, social media accounts, and apps.
  • If possible, have a form on your website where people can tell you if their monkeypox test returned positive and list the events they attended on which day, so that you can use this to alert other event participants. You can make the form anonymous, or you can state that any personal identifying information will not be shared for any reason.

Channels you can use:

  • News items on event websites, event app, or via social media channels
  • Post-event webcast/teleconference with participants
  • Emails and direct messages to participants
  • Push notifications via SMS text, dating apps, etc.
  • For more information, refer to https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/sexualhealth/index.html.
  • Give guests information on how to access sexual health services in your area.
  • If any outbreak of monkeypox or another communicable disease does arise, cooperate with your local public health authorities and help them contact people who may have been exposed. If participants do not want to share this information, advise them to contact their close contacts directly.

Collaborate with others

Pre-event:

  • Work with your local health department
    • Your local health authorities should be able to provide you up to date and accurate information about monkeypox. It may also be able to help share messages and serve as a point of contact for testing, treatment, and vaccine information.
    • Refer to CDC’s safer sex and social gathering document for additional considerations.
  • Engage with organizers of peripheral events, such as parties or club nights, and local businesses, such as hotels, bars, night clubs, saunas, and sex-on-premises venues. Encourage them to share and post monkeypox prevention messages.

During event:

  • Share resources on monkeypox testing, treatment, and vaccination.

Post-event:

  • Highlight the symptoms of monkeypox and refer participants to the health department and other organizations that provide testing and treatment.

Prevent and control the infection

Pre-event:

  • Set up sufficient hand-washing facilities and hand sanitizers.
    • Ensure hand-washing facilities are available to participants across the venue, and that information is provided to alert attendees about where they can wash or sanitize their hands.
  • Distribute alcohol-based hand sanitizer at multiple sites across the venue, particularly near toilets and in food courts or near food trucks.

During event:

  • Where appropriate, clean and disinfect the event premises regularly; for specifics, please review www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/specific-settings/home-disinfection.html.
  • Wash shared items such as utensils, plates, and glasses after each guest in a dishwasher or by hand with hot water and soap.
  • Change bed linens and towels after each customer or adopt single-use options.
  • Allocate a private space in the event venue for attendees, volunteers, and staff who may start to show symptoms while they are attending the event. Make sure proper medical assistance is secured.

Post-event:

  • Final clean and disinfection of premises and shared items.

Sample Monkeypox Key Messages to Share

The following are examples of potential messages that can be shared.  Please work with your local health authorities to determine messages for your event. Visit CDC for the latest Monkeypox information.

Pre-event:

  • Monkeypox is spreading in the United States. You can protect yourself and other event goers by learning about monkeypox before coming to [event name]. Go to [insert trusted source e.g., www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html] to learn more.
  • The monkeypox virus is spreading mostly through close, intimate contactwith someone who has monkeypox. To learn more: cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/transmission.html
  • Symptoms of monkeypox may include fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, and enlarged lymph nodes. A characteristic rash, which can appear like blisters or pimples, occurs a few days later. Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
  • If you feel sick or have a new or unexplained rash, do not attend [event name] and see a healthcare provider.
  • To help protect you and your community, follow the recommended prevention steps, and get vaccinated if you were exposed to monkeypox or are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox.

During event:

  • If you notice a new or unexplained rash or other monkeypox symptoms while at [event name], avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with other eventgoers and go directly to [designated private space at event venue where people can go if they start to show symptoms].
  • We hope you are having a great time at [event name]. Remember, if you feel sick or have a new or unexplained rash, talk to a health care provider right away.
  • Symptoms of monkeypox may include flu-like illness with fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, and enlarged lymph nodes. A characteristic rash, which can appear like blisters or pimples, occurs a few days later. Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Some people may only experience a rash.
  • Avoid any rash you see on others and consider minimizing skin-to-skin contact.
  • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle, or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with objects (such as eating utensils and cups) and materials (such as clothing or towels) that a person with monkeypox has used.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
  • Even if you feel well, here are some ways to reduce your chances of being exposed to monkeypox if you are sexually active:
    • Take a temporary break from activities that increase exposure to monkeypox.
    • Limit your number of sex partners to reduce your likelihood of exposure.
    • Talk with your partner about any monkeypox symptoms and be aware of any new or unexplained rash or lesion on either of your bodies.  If you or your partner has or recently had monkeypox symptoms or you have a new or unexplained rash anywhere on your body, do not have sex and see a healthcare provider. In some cases, symptoms may be mild, and some people may not even know they have monkeypox.
    • Be aware that monkeypox can also spread through respiratory secretions with close, face-to-face contact.
    • Remember to wash your hands, fetish gear, sex toys, and any fabrics (bedding, towels, clothes) after having sex. Learn more about infection control: cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/clinicians/infection-control-home.html

Remember to include information on how participants should access health services if they think they have monkeypox symptoms.

Post-event:

  • We hope you had a great time at [event name]. Remember, if you feel sick or have a new or unexplained rash, talk to a health care provider right away.
  • Symptoms of monkeypox may include flu-like illness with fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, and enlarged lymph nodes. A characteristic rash, which can appear like blisters or pimples, occurs a few days later. Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Some people may only experience a rash.
  • If you experience monkeypox symptoms, talk to your close contacts right away. Think about the people you have had close, skin-to-skin, or sexual contact with during the last 21 days, including people you met through dating apps.

Talking points for presenters making announcements at events, bars, and nightclubs

Background: Providing information to event attendees through announcements is a good way to reach a large group of people at one time. These talking points and tips were designed to help you think through developing announcements about monkeypox.

Considerations:

  • Decide what type of message you would like to focus on. For example, you may want to educate about monkeypox symptoms, provide information on what attendees should do if they become sick, or raise awareness about contact tracing.
  • Make sure to include a call to action in your announcement such as where to go for more information (e.g., an online website like cdc.gov/monkeypox; a booth at the event) or engaging in a specific behavior like encouraging vaccination.
  • Recruit a presenter to make the announcement. This could be someone viewed as a public health authority, such as health department staff or a local clinician, or it can be someone affiliated with the event or venue such as a DJ, staff member, or performer.

What information should presenters give audiences

Do:
  • give people the facts about monkeypox
  • tell them who is most at risk, and how we can protect each other
  • say where they can find reliable information on monkeypox
  • give information on how to access health services, including clinics for sexually transmitted infections
Don’t:
  • pander to stereotypes by making fun of the name of the disease or the fact it was first identified in Africa

Example script for a presenter to promote prevention and learning more:

Hi Everyone!  I’m [insert name and role/position].  Before the show starts (while we have a short break), we wanted to take a quick moment to provide you some information about monkeypox. As you may have heard, cases of monkeypox are rising in our area/community. The virus is contagious and spreads through close, skin-to-skin contact but we can prevent the spread of monkeypox here at [insert event or venue]. We want to encourage everyone to spread out and keep your shirts on.  If you feel sick or have a new or unexplained rash, please go home. We also have a booth in the back where we can answer any questions you may have about monkeypox and provide more information. Thanks everyone. Stay safe and enjoy [insert event name].

Basic Information about Monkeypox

What is monkeypox?

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.

Who is at risk from monkeypox?
  • Anyone can catch monkeypox. The virus doesn’t care about your gender or sexual orientation.
How is monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox spreads in a few ways.

  • Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
    • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
    • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
    • Contact with respiratory secretions.
  • This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:
    • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) of a person with monkeypox.
    • Hugging, massage, and kissing.
    • Prolonged face-to-face contact.
    • Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.
  • A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

People with monkeypox get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.

  • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
  • The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

Other symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Headache
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)

You may experience all or only a few symptoms.

  • Sometimes, people have flu-like symptoms before the rash.
  • Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms.
  • Others only experience a rash.
How do you protect yourself from monkeypox?

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.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
    • 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, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
What treatments are available for monkeypox?

There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox virus infections. However, because of genetic similarities in the viruses, antiviral drugs used to treat smallpox may be used to treat monkeypox infections.

Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.

Is there a vaccine to prevent monkeypox?

Because monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, vaccines developed to protect against smallpox viruses may be used to prevent monkeypox infections.

The U.S. government has two stockpiled vaccines—JYNNEOS and ACAM2000—that can prevent monkeypox in people who are exposed to the virus.

Who should get vaccinated monkeypox?

CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who may be more likely to get monkeypox.

People more likely to get monkeypox include:

  • People who have been identified by public health officials as a contact of someone with monkeypox
  • 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
Vaccine protection

The preferred vaccine to protect against monkeypox is JYNNEOS, which is a two-dose vaccine. It takes 14 days after getting the second dose of JYNNEOS for its immune protection to reach its maximum.