Monkeypox (MPV) is a viral illness that can cause flu-like symptoms and a rash. The virus is in the same family as smallpox, but is rarely (< 1%) fatal. However, it is contagious (much less than COVID-19) in some settings and requires isolation of those infected and potential quarantine of those exposed.
Sources: CDC July 12, 2022, Washtenaw County Health Department
Monkeypox (MPV) is a viral illness that can cause flu-like symptoms and a rash. The virus is in the same family as smallpox, but is rarely (< 1%) fatal. However, it is contagious (much less than COVID-19) in some settings and requires isolation of those infected and potential quarantine of those exposed. Monkeypox is spread through human-to-human transmission by direct or indirect contact with infected bodily fluids or respiratory secretions during face-to-face contact. Anyone can be infected with Monkeypox; it is not isolated to men who have sex with men. The virus spreads by:
- direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
- respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
- touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
- pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta
It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal. Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others. At this time, it is not known if monkeypox can spread through semen or vaginal fluids. CDC, June 24, 2022
Washtenaw County Health Department Monkeypox Fact Sheet
- Avoid close contact with people who have a rash that looks like Monkeypox.
- Do not touch linens, or clothing of an infected individual.
- Wash your hands often and use hand sanitizer.
- There is a vaccine for Monkeypox. It is in very short supply. You must meet specific criteria to receive the vaccine. At this time, the vaccine is only available through the Washtenaw County Health Department-Monkeypox vaccine.
Read these recommendations from the Washtenaw County Health Department on preventing Monkeypox.
Washtenaw County Health Department Monkeypox: what to do if you have been exposed
Symptoms of Monkeypox typically begin within 7-14 days of exposure, but can range from 5-21 days. Those infected with Monkeypox may first develop a flu-like illness followed by the rash. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
Symptoms may include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Respiratory symptoms (sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
- Rash (looks 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)
- Swollen lymph nodes
The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The sores may be painful or itchy. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. You are contagious until all scabs have fallen off and new skin has grown over the areas.
Rashes can be difficult to properly diagnose by appearance alone. The test for Monkeypox is a simple swab of an infected lesion. The results may take a few days.
Though Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI), if you are being tested for an STI because of a high risk activity, you may also want to be tested for Monkeypox if you also have a rash.
Washtenaw County Health Department Monkeypox: what to expect after being tested fact sheet
There is no specific treatment for Monkeypox. However, some antiviral medications may be useful. If you have symptoms of Monkeypox you should talk to your healthcare provider.
Washtenaw County Health Department Monkeypox: what to do if you test positive