Monkeypox Update - Key information and FAQs

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 that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are like smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal.

Who can get monkeypox?

Current data suggest that men who have sex with other men make up most cases in the monkeypox outbreak. However, anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who has been in close personal contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk. Take steps to prevent getting monkeypox. If you have any symptoms of monkeypox, speak with a health care provider.

How does monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox can spread from person to person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs or body fluids of someone who is infected with the monkeypox virus. 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.

Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. Anyone in close personal contact with a person with monkeypox can get it and should take steps to protect themselves.

Is monkeypox deadly?

In rare circumstances monkeypox can be deadly, but generally infections with the type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak—the Clade IIb virus —are rarely fatal. Over 99% of people who get this form of the disease are likely to survive. People at higher risk such as those with weakened immune systems, children under 8 years of age, people with a history of eczema, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be more likely to get seriously ill or even die.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus.
    • The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.

Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.

When should I get tested for monkeypox?

If you think you have monkeypox or have had close personal contact with someone who has monkeypox, you should visit a health care provider to help you decide if you need to be tested for monkeypox. If you decide that you should be tested, they will work with you to collect the specimens and send them to a laboratory for testing.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

  • If your test result is positive, stay isolated and observe other prevention practices (see below) until your rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.
  • Remain isolated if you have a fever, sore throat, nasal congestion or cough. Only go out to see a health care provider or for an emergency. Avoid public transportation.
  • If you must leave isolation, cover the rash and wear a well-fitting mask.

How can monkeypox be prevented?

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials 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.

Should I be concerned about going to crowded public events?

People can get monkeypox if they have close, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox. Early indications are that events with activities in which people engage in close, sustained skin-to-skin contact have resulted in cases of monkeypox. If you plan to attend an event, consider how much close, personal, skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur there.

What treatments are available for monkeypox?

Currently there is no treatment approved specifically for monkeypox. However, medicine (antivirals) FDA-approved for use in patients with smallpox are used to treat people with monkeypox.

The CDC, in partnership with the FDA, has made it easier for health care providers to provide the antiviral drug tecovirimat (TPOXX) to treat patients with monkeypox.

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 stockpiled two licensed vaccines—JYNNEOS and ACAM2000—that can prevent monkeypox in people who are exposed to the virus.
  • Only JYNNEOS is FDA approved for the prevention of monkeypox in people 18 and older.

Who should get vaccinated?

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

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

  • How can I protect myself from getting monkeypox?

  • Avoid direct contact with rashes, sores or scabs on a person with monkeypox.
  • Avoid sex, and intimate physical contact with a person with monkeypox. We believe this is currently the most common way that monkeypox is spreading in the U.S.
  • Avoid contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with respiratory secretions, through kissing and other face-to-face contact with a person with monkeypox.

  • Could my pet get monkeypox?

    Monkeypox can spread between animals and people. However, CDC does not currently believe that monkeypox poses a high risk to pets, though they are continuing to monitor the situation closely.

    Additional Information:

    Isolation and infection control

    Prevention: Home disinfecting

    Monkeypox signs and symptoms

    Safer Sex, Social Gatherings, and Monkeypox

    Monkeypox Treatment

    CDC Monkeypox FAQ