What is MPV?
MPV (also known as monkeypox) is a virus that causes a rash and flu-like illness. It can spread to any person through close contact, especially skin-to-skin contact. So far, it most often spreads through sexual contact. You can learn more about symptoms and prevention at cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox.
Currently, cases in the US appear to be related to close personal contact with an infected person and have primarily been reported in penis-partner patients (men who have sex with men). However, transmission is not based on a person’s gender or sexual orientation – anyone who comes in close contact with MPV can get the disease.
How is MPV spread?
MPV is spread through close personal contact with the rash, scabs or body fluids from an infected person or through close contact with not-yet-disinfected objects (i.e. sheets, towels) that have been used by an infected person. Transmission through respiratory secretions is rare and most newly infected people in the US report having close, sustained contact with an infected person. The following intimate contact can spread the virus:
- Oral, anal and vaginal sex or touching the genitals or anus of an infected person
- Hugging, massage, kissing and prolonged face-to-face contact with an infected person
Having multiple or anonymous partners can increase the chances for exposure to the virus. MPV can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed.
What are the symptoms of MPV?
Most symptoms start within 3 weeks of exposure and may include:
- Flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches/backache, sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and/or exhaustion before or after a rash develops.
- These symptoms may be mild or may not occur at all.
- Most people with MPV will get a characteristic rash.
- Firm, pimple-like lesions, often starting in genital and perianal areas that may or may not spread to other parts of the body
What do I do if I think I have MPV?
- Book an appointment with a health care provider.
- Avoid close contact with other people until you can see a provider.
- If you have a rash, stay in a separate area from other people and pets in your home.
- Wash your hands often.
- Don’t share towels, clothing, or sex toys.
- If you need to go out, cover your rash, wear a well-fitting mask, and avoid situations where you have contact with other people.
How is MPV treated?
In most cases, treatment will focus on managing symptoms and pain. Depending on where you are affected, this could include taking sitz baths (sitting in warm, shallow water), gargling salt water, applying topical medications, or using over-the-counter pain relievers or stool softeners. People with significant risk for severe disease might take antiviral medication. (People who are immunocompromised, pregnant or breastfeeding, or who have eczema or other skin conditions, are at higher risk.)