Monkeypox is an infection caused by the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox can cause a painful rash. It may look like pimples or blisters. Other symptoms include fever, sore throat, and body aches. Many states in the U.S. have confirmed monkeypox cases. There are steps you can take to prevent getting monkeypox. Talk to your doctor if you think you may have monkeypox or if you have been in close contact with someone who has it.
How Does Monkeypox Spread?
- Monkeypox can spread through close, often skin-to-skin contact including:
- Direct contact with rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox
- Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that were used by someone with monkeypox
- Contact with fluids from the mouth of someone with monkeypox
- This contact can happen during intimate contact including:
- Oral, anal, and vaginal sex
- Touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus 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
- Having multiple or casual sex partners may increase your risk of getting monkeypox
What Are Signs of Monkeypox?
- People with monkeypox get a rash. This can happen with or without other symptoms
- The rash may appear before or after flu-like symptoms begin
- Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 5-13 days of being in contact with the virus
- Flu-like symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion
- Individuals with flu-like symptoms usually develop a rash 1-4 days later
- Others may only experience a rash
- The rash may be located on or near the genitals or anus. It could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, or face
- The rash will go through many stages (including scabs) before healing
- The rash can look like pimples or blisters. It may be painful or itchy
- The rash may also be inside the body, including the mouth, vagina, or anus
- You may experience all or only a few of the symptoms
- Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash heals
- The rash has healed when all scabs fall off and a new layer of skin has formed
- This can take 2-4 weeks
- The infection can be very uncomfortable but most people who get monkeypox will not get seriously ill
How Do I Protect Myself?
- Avoid 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
Where Can I Find Out More?
- Visit the CDC Website.
- Contact your doctor if you are worried about your health.