Mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) is a viral disease that spreads by close contact. Anyone can get mpox regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
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- If you have symptoms, see your health care provider for testing.
- If you do not have a provider, call APH's Information Line at 512-972-5560.
- You can only get tested for mpox if you are experiencing rash symptoms.
Testing involves a provider taking a swab of a lesion, therefore, you can only get tested if you have lesions. Only your provider, not APH, can give you the test result. While you are waiting for your test result, which can take a few days, isolate yourself from others.
A person cannot spread mpox unless they have symptoms. Mpox is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox, but symptoms are milder, and mpox is rarely fatal.
Symptoms can include
- Fever, headache, muscle aches and backache.
- Swollen lymph nodes and chills.
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands/palms, feet/soles of feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
- The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
If you have symptoms, seek medical care immediately. If you do not have a primary health care provider you can call APH's Information Line at 512-972-5560. If you or your partners feel sick or have any rashes or sores, avoid sex and gatherings, especially if they involve close skin-to-skin contact or prolonged face-to-face contact, and see a healthcare provider to get checked out. This is always a good plan, even if a rash or illness is unrelated to mpox.
Visual Examples of Mpox Rash
- Risks for Mpox
While mpox is not considered an STI, it is primarily spread through close physical contact, which includes sexual contact. Sexual contact with anonymous and/or multiple partners increases the risk of catching and spreading mpox.
Anyone who is unvaccinated and participating in this contact is at high risk.
Additional information on Safer Sex, Social Gatherings, and Mpox can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website.
- How Mpox Spreads
Mpox is rare and does not spread easily between people without close contact. Unlike COVID-19, people who do not have mpox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.
Mpox is spread through:
- Direct contact with mpox sores on skin, in the mouth on the genitals or anus, scabs, and rashes through intimate or skin-to-skin contact such as kissing, cuddling, wrestling, or sex.
- Contact with objects or fabrics (e.g., clothing, bedding, towels) that have been used by someone with mpox.
- Respiratory droplets or oral fluids from someone with mpox; historically, these respiratory droplets can only travel a few feet, and are of primary concern among those who have very close face-to-face prolonged contact.
Mpox does not spread from person to person through:
- Walking by someone who is infected.
- Casual conversation with someone infected.
- Lowering Your Risk for Mpox
Here are some things people can consider to decrease their risk for mpox:
- Decreasing the number of sex and intimate contact partners.
- Not going to places like bathhouses or other public sex venues.
- Avoiding raves, parties, or clubs where people wear minimal clothing and where there is direct, intimate, skin-to-skin contact. For those who attend these events or venues, avoid coming into contact with rashes or sores you see on others and minimize skin-to-skin contact when possible.
- Events where attendees are fully clothed and unlikely to share skin-to-skin contact are safer. However, attendees should be mindful of activities (like kissing) that might spread mpox.
As this is a newer outbreak, public health entities nationally and internationally are still learning about the potential networks or behaviors that may put people at increased risk, and APH will continue to share information with the community as we learn more.
The antiviral drug tecovirimat (TPOXX) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat smallpox in adults and children. Drugs developed to treat smallpox may be used to treat mpox.
TPOXX requires a prescription. If you need TPOXX, contact your doctor. Your doctor will work with the local or state health department to get you TPOXX.
For ways to treat and relieve symptoms, please see the CDC website for ways to manage your monkeypox symptoms.
As of Sept. 15
284 confirmed mpox cases.