Anyone can get MPOX after having close and prolonged physical contact with someone infected, especially with infected lesions (sores), bodily fluids, or other contaminated surfaces. However, the current risk to the general public is very low.
While MPOX is no longer considered a health emergency, vaccination is an important tool in stopping the spread of MPOX. People who are vaccinated should continue to avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has MPOX.
- Direct skin-skin contact with rash lesions
- Sexual/intimate contact, including kissing
- Living in a house and sharing a bed with someone
- Sharing towels or unwashed clothing
- Respiratory secretions through prolonged face-to-face interactions (the type that mainly happens when living with someone or caring for someone who has MPOX)
MPOX might start with symptoms like the flu, with fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes, and general body aches. After the appearance of fever, the person can develop a rash or sores. The sores will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. They can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful and itchy.
The rash or sores may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butt) but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, and face. They may also be limited to one part of the body.
People with MPOX may experience all or only a few of these symptoms. Most people with MPOX will get the rash or sores. Some people have reported developing the rash or sores before (or without) the flu-like symptoms.
When is MPOX contagious?
A person with MPOX can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. As of February 2023, new data show that some people can spread MPOX to others from one to four days before their symptoms appear. It’s not clear how many people this has affected during the current outbreak. There is currently no evidence showing that people who never develop symptoms have spread the virus to someone else. CDC will continue to monitor the latest information about how mpox spreads.
CDC recommends vaccination against MPOX if:
- You had known or suspected exposure to someone with MPOX
- You had a sex partner in the past 2 weeks who was diagnosed with MPOX
- You are a gay, bisexual, or a man who has sex with men or a transgender, nonbinary, or gender-diverse person who in the past 6 months has had any of the following:
- A new diagnosis of one or more sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis)
- More than one sex partner
- You have had any of the following in the past 6 months:
- Sex at a commercial sex venue (like a sex club or bathhouse)
- Sex related to a large commercial event or in a geographic area (city or county for example) where MPOX virus transmission is occurring
- You have a sex partner with any of the above risks
- You anticipate experiencing any of the above scenarios
- You have HIV or other causes of immune suppression and have had recent or anticipate future risk of MPOX exposure from any of the above scenarios
- You work in settings where you may be exposed to MPOX:
- You work with orthopoxviruses in a laboratory
- You are part of an orthopoxvirus and health care worker response team
Please contact your healthcare provider or occupational health department if you are eligible for the MPOX vaccine. If you do not have a healthcare provider, please contact email@example.com
Additional Prevention Practices:
- Always talking to your sexual partner/s about any recent illness and being aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including on the genitals and anus
- Avoiding close contact, including sex, with people with symptoms like sores or rashes
- Avoiding contact with infected animals and materials contaminated with the virus
- Isolation of infected persons until their symptoms, including rash, have gone away completely
- Using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (like a mask, gown, and gloves) when caring for others with symptoms
- Practicing good hand hygiene
Learn more about how you can lower your risk of getting MPOX during sex or at a social gathering.
What should someone do if they are exposed to MPOX or have symptoms?
Contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible and let them know you have symptoms or have been exposed to MPOX. Healthcare providers can provide testing and care for people who are diagnosed with MPOX.
Healthcare providers and local health departments may also recommend a vaccine for those who are exposed to help prevent infection or decrease the seriousness of the illness.
If You Are Sick with MPOX
MPOX typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Learn what you can do to take care of yourself and protect others, including managing symptoms, rash relief, and notifying close contacts.
Where can I find more information?
- CDPH Monkeypox homepage
- World Health Organization (WHO)- Monkeypox
- Joint Letter Calling on CDC to Expand Monkeypox Virus Testing and Vaccine
- CDC – Get the Facts about Monkeypox
- CDC – Social Gatherings, Safer Sex and Monkeypox
- Considerations for Monkeypox Vaccination
- California Vaccine Distribution
- Intradermal Vaccine Strategy
- Southern Nevada Health District
The information provided on this website is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.
For residents living in Nevada, U.S.
Carson City Health and Human Services | 775-887-2195
Southern Nevada Health District | 702-759-0850
Washoe County Health District | 775-328-2400
Division of Public and Behavioral Health
Please contact your healthcare provider or occupational health department if you are eligible for the monkeypox vaccine. If you do not have a healthcare provider, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org