Monkeypox (MPX) Information and Updates

MPX: Symptoms, Testing and Treatment

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox (MPX) is a rare disease. It's caused by infection with the MPX virus. The MPX virus is part of the same virus family that cause smallpox. MPX symptoms are nearly the same as smallpox symptoms, only milder. MPX is not linked to chickenpox, and it's rarely fatal.

What are MPX symptoms?

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on your face and inside your mouth. It can also appear on other parts of your body like your:
    • Hands
    • Feet
    • Chest
    • Genitals
    • Anus

The rash goes through different stages before complete healing. The illness mostly lasts 2–4 weeks. You may get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Or, you may only get a rash.

How does MPX spread?

  • MPX can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, This includes:
    • Direct contact with the Monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with Monkeypox.
    • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with Monkeypox.
    • Contact with places where a person with MPX has coughed.
  • Intimate contact which includes:
    • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or 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 and that have not been sterilized, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.
  • A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

Note: MPX can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness mostly lasts 2–4 weeks. People who do not have MPX symptoms cannot spread the virus to others. At this time, it is not known if MPX can spread through semen or vaginal fluids.

How can I help prevent getting MPX?

Follow the steps below to help prevent you from getting MPX:

  1. Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like MPX.
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with MPX.
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with MPX. Learn more about MPX safer sex guidelines.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person that has MPX.
  2. Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with MPX.
  3. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  4. If you plan to attend an event, think about how much close, personal, skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur there. A rave, party, or club where there is little clothing and where there is direct, personal, often skin-to-skin contact has some risk. Avoid any rash you see on others and any skin-to-skin contact.

If you are sick with MPX:

  • Isolate at home
  • If you have an active rash or other symptoms, stay in a separate room or area away from people or pets you live with, when you can.

How do I get tested for MPX?

If you think you have MPX or have had close personal contact with someone who does have it, you should visit a healthcare provider to decide if you need to be tested. If the answer is yes, they will work with you to collect the specimens and send them to a lab for testing.

Note: As of now, California has 10 public health labs called Laboratory Response Networks (LRN-B). These labs can test for Monkeypox. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is searching for new options to increase testing in California. More information about how to get tested is found below.

Public Health suggests that you speak to your primary care provider (PCP).

If you do not have a PCP, call 2-1-1 for help. Also, if you have developed a rash, you can find information and access services at LA County Public Health's Sexual Health Clinics.

What are the treatments for MPX?

There are no exact treatments for the MPX virus. but, as stated, the MPX and smallpox viruses are genetically similar. This means the antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat MPX.

Antivirals, such as Tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be given for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems. This type of therapy is only available at a limited number of facilities.

If you have symptoms of MPX, you should talk to your PCP. Do this even if you don't think you had contact with someone who has MPX.

Is there a vaccine to prevent MPX?

There is no vaccine specific to MPX. But, because the MPX and smallpox viruses are similar, vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to help prevent MPX.

The U.S. government has two stockpiled vaccines—JYNNEOS and ACAM2000—that can help prevent MPX in people who are exposed to the virus.

If you've had or may have had contact with someone who has MPX, you may need to get vaccinated. Contact your healthcare provider as soon as you can.

For MPX vaccination appointments, please visit MyTurn.

Who should get the MPX vaccine?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests vaccination for people who have been exposed to Monkeypox and people who may be more likely to get Monkeypox.

People more likely to get Monkeypox include those:

  • Who public health officials have found to be a contact of someone with Monkeypox.
  • Who are aware that a partner they've had sex with within the past two weeks has been diagnosed with Monkeypox.
  • Who have had multiple sexual partners within the past two weeks in an area with known Monkeypox breakouts.
  • Whose jobs may expose them to Orthopoxviruses.

Should I get the MPX vaccine after being exposed to the virus?

Yes. The sooner you get the MPX vaccine after being exposed to the virus the better.

The CDC suggests that the vaccine be given within four days from the date you were exposed to help prevent onset of the disease. The vaccine may reduce symptoms if given between 4 –14 days after the exposure date, but may not prevent the disease.