What you need to know 


June 16, 2022  

EPIC Extra


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What is monkeypox?


Scientists at CDC are tracking multiple cases of monkeypox that have been reported in several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including the United States. Monkeypox is a disease that can make you sick, including a characteristic rash, and people often, but not always, have an earlier flu-like illness. Anyone with a new rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their healthcare provider, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox.


Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 5–21 days of exposure to the virus that causes monkeypox. The first symptoms might be like the flu, such as fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion. Some people may not have these initial symptoms. Within 1–5 days of these flu-like symptoms beginning, people develop a rash, lesions (bumps), or sores.

  • The rash may be located on or near the genitals or anus but could also be on other areas of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, or face.
  • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
  • The rash may be painful or itchy.
  • The rash may be inside the body, including the mouth, vagina, or anus.

People with monkeypox may experience all or only a few of these symptoms, but most people will get the rash, lesions (bumps), or sores. Some people have reported developing the rash before (or without) the flu-like symptoms.


How does monkeypox spread?



Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until all sores, including scabs, have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take several weeks.


Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact including:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, sores, or scabs from a person with monkeypox. We believe this is currently the most common way that monkeypox is spreading in the U.S.
  • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butt) of a person with monkeypox.
  • Hugging, massage, kissing and other face-to-face contact.
  • Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.

What You Should Do

If you have a new or unexplained rash, sores, or other symptoms of monkeypox, do not attend any gatherings or events, and see a healthcare provider.

  • Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked out by a healthcare provider. If you don’t have a provider or health insurance, visit a public health clinic near you.
  • When you see a healthcare provider, remind them that this virus is circulating in the area.
  • Avoid gatherings, especially if they involve close, personal, skin-to-skin contact.
  • Think about the people you have had close, personal, or sexual contact within the last 21 days, including people you met through dating apps. You might be asked to share this information if you receive a monkeypox diagnosis, to help stop the spread.


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