Monkeypox FAQ

  • What is Monkeypx?

    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.

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  • How does Monkeypox spread?

    The monkeypox virus can spread from person-to-person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex. 

    The virus typically enters the body through broken skin, or mucus membranes such as the eyes, nose, or mouth. The incubation period is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days.



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  • What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

    The disease typically begins with early symptoms of fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion followed a few days later by a rash. In some of the recent cases, the early symptoms were not noted before rash appearance. Lesions may be all over the body, including the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and head, face, or located only on the genitals or around the buttocks.

    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. Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.

    Additional symptoms are provided here:

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  • How is monkeypox diagnosed?

    If you have symptoms of monkeypox, you should see a health care provider for testing. Your healthcare provider will swab one to two lesions and send the specimens to a lab for testing. The test is a polymerase chain reaction, or P.C.R., much like those for Covid-19 that detect a piece of the virus's genetic material.

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  • Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted infection?

    Monkeypox is spread among people through close physical contact such as skin-to-skin contact or prolonged unmasked face-to-face contact but is currently not considered a sexually transmitted infection. It is important to know that anyone can get monkeypox, and the virus does not spread exclusively through any one gender, sexual, or social network.

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  • How is monkeypox treated?

    There is no specific treatment for monkeypox, although antivirals developed for treatment of smallpox may prove beneficial. Your healthcare provider will conduct an assessment to determine the best treatment option for you.

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  • Do infected people have to be isolated?

    Yes, isolation, usually at home, is required until the skin lesions have completely healed. For current infection control and isolation guidance, please visit Download this pdf file. Home Isolation Guidance - Monkeypox

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  • Am I at risk?

    Monkeypox is most commonly spread through close, skin-to-skin contact. The overwhelming majority of people with monkeypox in the outbreak generally report having close, sustained physical contact with other people who have monkeypox. While many of those affected in the current global outbreaks are gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox can get the illness.

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  • Are there other ways monkeypox spreads?

    The risk of contracting monkeypox is based on exposure – an individual must be exposed to enough virus to become infected. What is currently known about monkeypox transmission indicates that skin-to-skin contact and direct contact with lesions from an infected person carries the highest risk. Though there are other ways monkeypox can be transmitted indirectly, sharing bedding or towels with someone who is infected with monkeypox would carry more risk than passing encounters with money or a door handle or other environmental surfaces.

    Monkeypox may spread by touching items such as clothing or linens that previously touched an infectious rash or body fluids but has not been identified to be a common mode of transmission in this outbreak or for monkeypox in general.

    Most settings where people congregate such as workplaces, schools, grocery stores, gas stations, or public transportation are not considered high-risk settings for monkeypox transmission

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  • How serious is monkeypox?

    Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease (will clear up on its own) with symptoms lasting from two weeks to four weeks. Most people with monkeypox get better on their own without treatment.

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  • How do I take care of myself?

    If you have monkeypox symptoms, there are over-the-counter medications that can help you feel better, including:

    • Pain relievers and fever reducers. Medicines like ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) and acetaminophen (Tylenol®) can help you feel better.
    • Oatmeal baths. Soaking in a warm bath with colloidal oatmeal can relieve the dry, itchy feeling that comes with skin rashes.
    • Isolate yourself if you’re infected. Avoid contact with others until all lesions have scabbed and fallen off, with new skin underneath.
    • Cover single or local lesions. Use gauze or bandages to limit the spread to others and the environment.
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  • When should I see my healthcare provider?

    Call your healthcare provider if you feel sick with fever, aches, or swollen lymph nodes; have a new rash or sores; have been in close contact with a person who is infected.

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  • Is there a vaccine for monkeypox?

    JYNNEOS vaccine can prevent illness or lead to less severe symptoms if given within two weeks after someone is exposed to monkeypox. For more information, see the CDC monkeypox and smallpox vaccine guidance:

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  • Who can/should get vaccinated?


    • Persons of any gender identity or sexual orientation with any of the following:
      • Have had multiple or anonymous sex partners with men who have sex with men in the last 14 days
      • Have had skin-to-skin or intimate contact (e.g., kissing, hugging) with persons who have had a rash or are suspected of having monkeypox in the last 14 days.
      • Have had skin-to-skin or intimate contact (e.g., kissing, hugging) with persons at large venues or events in the past 14 days.
      • Have engaged in commercial and/or transactional sex in the past 14 days (e.g., sex in exchange for money, shelter, food, and other goods or needs)
      • Are HIV positive, or on HIV PrEP, or diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the last 90 days.


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  • How can I get vaccinated?

    Monkeypox vaccines are free and are based on availability of vaccine, which is in limited quantities currently. To schedule an appointment, visit or call Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line at (888) 457-0186 or your Download this pdf file. local Health Department to schedule an appointment.

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  • How can monkeypox infection be prevented?

    There are things you can do to protect yourself from 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.
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  • What do pet owners need to know?
    • Although rare, dogs are susceptible to monkeypox, and other pets may be as well. Virus transmission from infected people to pets may occur through close contact like hugging, kissing, licking, and sharing beds. To keep pets safe, people with symptoms of monkeypox—particularly pox-like skin sores—would do best to avoid all contact with animals. Do not surrender, euthanize, or abandon your pet because of potential exposure to an infected person. 
    • There is more to learn about the initial signs of monkeypox in companion animals like dogs and cats, but potential signs include those that are similar to other, much more common infectious diseases. These include fever, cough, reddened eyes, runny nose, lethargy, and low appetite. If you notice these signs in your pet, and the pet has had no known exposure to someone with monkeypox, the cause is likely to be something else. 
    • If your pet develops at least two of these signs or a pimple- or blister-like rash within 21 days after possible contact with someone with monkeypox, immediately contact your veterinarian. They can advise you on next steps, including testing to confirm infection. ​If your pet develops these symptoms and is not experiencing a medical emergency, do not bring your animal to a veterinarian's office without calling ahead to discuss the situation. There is no specific treatment for monkeypox, and most animals are expected to recover without any need to see a veterinarian. It may be safest for you and your pet to stay home and treat the symptoms of infection with things like fluids and rest.
    • If your pet is suspected or confirmed to have monkeypox, keep the animal separate from other animals—including wildlife—and minimize contact with people for at least 21 days after signs first appeared or until your pet has fully recovered. This is especially important for people who are immunocompromised, pregnant, or younger than 8 years, and those who have a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema.

    For more information from the American Veterinary Medical Association, visit: 

    Additional guidance from DPH regarding Download this pdf file. Monkeypox and Companion Animals .

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