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General information about hMPXV, also called Monkeypox.

Orthopoxviruses (hMPXV or human monkeypox virus)

What is hMPXV or Monkeypox?

hMPXV is a rare disease caused by infection with the hMPXV virus. The virus is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox. Symptoms are similar to smallpox infection but milder and hMPXV is rarely fatal.

What are the signs and symptoms of hMPXV Disease?

hMPXV may have the following symptoms:

  • Rash or skin lesions (anogenital, trunk/limbs, face, palms/soles)
  • Fever (temperature > 100.4)
  • Swollen Lymph nodes
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Anus/rectum pain
  • Low mood

In the current outbreak, some patients have developed a rash around the genitals or anus before any other symptoms, and some have not developed flu-like symptoms at all. hMPXV may also occur at the same time as sexually transmitted infections including gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis.

The incubation period for the infection is usually 1-2 weeks. This may be followed by a 1 week of fever, fatigue etc. The skin lesions progress through the following stages macular, papular, vesicular, to pustular—before scabbing over and resolving. The illness generally lasts 2-4 weeks.

What does the rash in hMPXV look like?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) description is  “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, feet, chest, genitals, or anus."

How is hMPXV transmitted in humans?

hMPXV can spread from person-to-person through 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. Spread may occur through touching items that have been in contact with the infectious rash or body fluids (e.g. linens and clothing).  Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta. Semen samples have been shown to contain the virus, however it is not clear whether the infection is spread through semen. hMPXV can spread from the time of symptom onset until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. According to the CDC, people who do not have symptoms (prodrome and/or rash) cannot spread the virus.

How is hMPXV diagnosed?

The CDC defines a suspected case of hMPXV as either:

  • new characteristic rash (macules, papules, vesicles, pustules, and scabs; this can sometimes be confused with other diseases (e.g., secondary syphilis, herpes, and varicella zoster)
  • Within 21 days of illness onset: Reports having contact with a person or people with a similar appearing rash or who received a diagnosis of confirmed or probable monkeypox OR
  • Had close or intimate in-person contact with individuals in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men (MSM) who meet partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event (e.g., a bar or party) OR
  • Traveled outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox virus is endemic OR
  • Had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that is an African endemic species or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.) 


How is hMPXV treated?

If you are concerned you have been exposed to or are having symptoms of hMPXV, please contact your county health department.

** Currently, PPCW is not offering the vaccine for hMPXV.  Please refer to your county health department for more information about this vaccine.**

** Currently, PPCW is not offering the vaccine for hMPXV.  Please refer to your county health department for more information about this vaccine.**