Monkeypox (MPX) is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It is related to the same virus which causes Smallpox. Since Monkeypox is like smallpox, its signs, symptoms, and how it spreads are all concerning Public Health. Additionally, there has been an unusual increase in monkeypox cases in places where Monkeypox is not common. The current risk of getting Monkeypox for the general public is very low.
Monkeypox symptoms may include:
- Tiredness or low energy
- Swollen lymph nodes
- General body aches
- Rash or Pimple- or Blister-Like Sores (called “Lesions”) that may have these features:
- Sores are painful or itchy
- Sores go through multiple stages before healing. Individual sores may be in different stages
- Commonly found on or near genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina), anus (butthole), hands, feet, chest, and face
- May be found on multiple parts of the body or only one part
By far, the most common symptom of Monkeypox is the lesions. Some individuals will experience all these symptoms, while others may only experience a few.
How does Monkeypox spread?
The current spread of Monkeypox during this outbreak is through direct skin-to-skin contact with the Monkeypox lesions. This includes kissing, hugging, and sexual contact. Monkeypox can also spread through other ways, though these have not been common in the current outbreak.
- Touching dirty items such as unwashed clothes or bedsheets.
- Respiratory fluids from long face-to-face contact, such as when caring for someone who is sick.
There are many ways to help prevent the spread of Monkeypox:
- Avoid close contact with people that have symptoms.
- Avoid touching items used by someone with Monkeypox, such as bedsheets or towels.
- If you have to touch these items, cover as much skin as possible with gloves, long sleeves, long pants, a face mask, closed-toe shoes, etc.;
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- If you're sexually active, speak with your partner(s) about any recent illness or symptoms.
What to do if you have symptoms:
If you start having any of the symptoms described above or think you may have Monkeypox, follow these tips:
- Stay home.
- Stay away from others. If you must be around others, wear a mask.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover any lesions.
- Avoid contact with animals, including pets, domestic animals, and wildlife.
- Wash things you may have touched while you had symptoms, including bedding, towels, clothing, sex toys, and surfaces such as door handles or countertops.
- Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until all your lesions have healed completely.
- Contact your healthcare provider to talk about diagnosis, testing, and treatment options.
Public health is tracking multiple cases of monkeypox in several countries that don't normally report monkeypox (view global map), including the United States. For travelers, see: Travel Health Notice for Monkeypox in Multiple Countries.