What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It can spread from animals to humans, as well as between people.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Symptoms of monkeypox usually include a rash, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, intense headache, muscle aches, back pain and low energy. The rash usually begins within one to three days of the start of a fever. Lesions can be flat or slightly raised, filled with clear or yellowish fluid, and can then crust, dry up and fall off. Monkeypox rashes can resemble some sexually transmitted diseases, including herpes and syphilis.
How does monkeypox spread from person to person?
People with monkeypox are infectious while they have symptoms (normally for between two and four weeks). You can catch monkeypox through close physical contact with someone who has symptoms. The rash, bodily fluids (such as pus or blood from skin lesions) and scabs are particularly infectious. Clothing, bedding, towels and other shared objects like eating utensils/dishes that have been contaminated with the virus can also infect others. People who closely interact with someone who has monkeypox, such as health care workers, household members and sexual partners are at greater risk for infection.
Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted infection?
Although there is no evidence that monkeypox is sexually transmitted at this time, monkeypox cases to date in Orange County, New York State, the United States and internationally have been transmitted through closes contact. Anyone who has close physical contact with someone who is infectious is at risk. If you or a recent partner (from the last 21 days) have been exposed or have symptoms, you should see a healthcare provider (remind them monkeypox is circulating), cover your rash/sores, wear a mask, and avoid close contact with others.
What do monkeypox rashes or lesions look like?
How can I protect myself and others against monkeypox?
Avoid close contact (touching sores, kissing, sex) with anyone who has a rash or symptoms of monkeypox.
If you live with someone who has monkeypox, the infected person should isolate from others and and cover any skin lesion if they can. When you are physically close to them, they should wear a medical mask, and you should wear one also. Avoid skin-to-skin contact whenever possible and use disposable gloves if you have to have any direct contact with their rash. Also wear a mask and gloves when handling any of their clothes or bedding if the person cannot do it themselves.
Regularly clean your hands with soap and water, especially after contact with the person who is infected, their clothes, bed sheets, towels and other personal items that they have touched. Wash the person’s clothes, towels and bedsheets and eating utensils with warm water and detergent.
Is there a vaccine for monkeypox?
Yes, there is a vaccine for monkeypox. People at higher risk for monkeypox infection may consider vaccination with the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccine. In accordance with CDC guidance, this includes those who:
- Had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or with someone who was diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox
- Had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity; this includes men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event such as at a bar or party
- Traveled outside the United States to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing
PLEASE NOTE: Currently Orange County does not have a supply of Monkeypox vaccine at this time. As always, concerned Orange County residents can contact the OCDOH at 845-291-2330 and they will be referred to one of the Public Health Nurses.
Are there treatments available for monkeypox?
Antiviral medications exist to treat monkeypox, which may be appropriate for some people. Prescription medicated mouthwashes and topical gels can also provide pain relief and keep rashes and lesions clean.Talk to your healthcare provider about prescription medications, as well as the use of over-the-counter oral antihistamines and topical agents.
What should I do if I think I may have monkeypox?
At this time, the risk to the general population is low. However, the following groups should be extra vigilant and reach out to their health care provider if they develop symptoms of monkeypox:
- People who have traveled to central or west African countries, parts of Europe where monkeypox cases have been reported, or other areas with confirmed cases of monkeypox during the month before their symptoms began,
- People who have had contact with a person with confirmed or suspected monkeypox, or
- Men who regularly have close or intimate contact with other men, including men who meet partners through online websites, digital applications (“apps”), or at bars or parties.
Monkeypox NYSDOH Downloadable Materials:
- FAQ: What to Expect After Your Monkeypox Vaccine (PDF)
- Poster: Protect Yourself, Your Friends and Your Community (PDF)
- Poster: Protect Your Community and the People You Party or Play With (PDF)
- Handout (PDF)
- Palm Card (PDF) Spanish (PDF)
- Information Card (PDF) Spanish (PDF)