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Monkeypox (Orthopoxvirus)

Go to: Transmission | Prevention | Symptoms | Vaccination

Cases in NYC

Cases in NYC are increasing, and there are likely many more cases that have not been diagnosed.

Anyone can get and spread monkeypox. The current cases are primarily spreading through sex and other intimate contact among social networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM); transgender people; gender-nonconforming people; and nonbinary people. People in these social circles who have multiple or anonymous sex partners are at a high risk of exposure.

If you have a new or unexpected rash or sores, contact a health care provider.

Testing

If you have symptoms of monkeypox, you should see a health care provider for testing. If you do not have a provider, call 311 or search the NYC Health Map. You should only get tested for monkeypox if you are experiencing symptoms.

Testing involves a provider taking a swab of a sore. Only your provider — not the Health Department — can give you the test result. While you are waiting for your test result, which can take a few days, isolate from others.

Second Doses

People should get the second dose of the two-dose vaccine at least four weeks after the first dose. You will start to build protection in the days and weeks after your first dose, but you will not have full immunity from the vaccine until two weeks after the second dose.

New York City is currently prioritizing first doses to get more people protected and help stop the spread while the vaccine supply remains low. If you have received the first dose, you will be contacted about scheduling the second dose in the coming weeks. You can wait longer than four weeks between doses.

Vaccination Appointments

Note: All available appointments have been filled at this time, but some may become available again due to cancellations or rescheduling.


 

Vaccine supply remains low. NYC is receiving a limited number of doses from the federal government, and we are making them available to New Yorkers as quickly as possible.

To get text alerts about vaccination appointments and other monkeypox updates for NYC, text “MONKEYPOX” to 692-692 or, for Spanish, text "MONKEYPOXESP".



Monkeypox is a contagious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. There is currently an outbreak of monkeypox in the U.S. and other countries where the virus does not usually spread.


Transmission

In the current outbreak, the monkeypox virus is spreading mainly during oral, anal and vaginal sex and other intimate contact, such as rimming, hugging, kissing, biting, cuddling and massage.

The virus can spread through:

  • Direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus
  • Contact with clothing, bedding and other items used by a person with monkeypox
  • Prolonged face-to-face contact

Experts are currently studying whether the virus can also spread through semen, saliva, feces and other body fluids.

People can spread the virus when they have symptoms. Experts are studying whether the virus can spread before symptoms start or after they end.


Prevention

The best way to protect yourself from monkeypox is to avoid sex and other intimate contact with multiple or anonymous partners.

If you choose to have sex or other intimate contact, the following can help reduce your risk:

  • Reduce your number of partners, especially those you do not know or whose recent sexual history you do not know.
  • Ask your partners if they have monkeypox symptoms or feel sick. If you or your partners are sick, especially if you or they have a new or unexpected rash or sore, do not have sex or close physical contact.
  • Avoid sex parties, circuit parties and other spaces where people are having sex and other intimate contact with multiple people.
  • If you choose to have sex or other intimate contact while sick, cover all rashes and sores with clothing or sealed bandages. This may reduce spread from contact with the rash or sores, but other methods of transmission may still be possible.
  • Since it may be possible the virus can be transmitted through semen, use latex condoms during sex.
  • Do not share towels, clothing, fetish gear, sex toys or toothbrushes.
  • Wash your hands, fetish gear and bedding. Sex toys should be washed after each use or sex act.

CDC: Safer Sex, Social Gatherings and Monkeypox

How to Protect Yourself and Others from Monkeypox (PDF)
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Symptoms

Six images of lesions to help identify monkeypox rash
Photo credit: UK Health Security Agency

In the current outbreak, hospitalization and death from monkeypox are rare, but symptoms can still be painful and interfere with daily activities.

Symptoms usually start within two weeks of exposure, but in some cases they may not appear for up to 21 days. Symptoms can last for two to four weeks.

The most common symptom is a rash or sores that can look like pimples or blisters. These may be all over the body or just in certain parts, such as the face, hands or feet, as well as on or inside the mouth, genitals or anus. The rash and sores can be extremely itchy and painful, and sores in the anus or urethra can make it hard to go to the bathroom. Some people also have flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache and tiredness.

Complications can include inflammation of the lining of the rectum (proctitis), or sores that could result in scarring of the eye, mouth, anus or urethra.

We do not know if monkeypox causes long-term health problems.

If You Have Symptoms

If you start experiencing symptoms, even if they are mild, isolate from others immediately and talk to your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call 311 or search the NYC Health Map. A provider will check your symptoms and may order testing.

You should avoid all close physical contact with others, including other people in your household. Also, avoid clubs, parties, bars and other crowded places.

The following may increase your risk for severe disease if you are infected: HIV; other conditions that weaken your immune system; and a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema. If you have one of these conditions, it is especially important to see a provider right away, if you have symptoms.

The following may increase your risk for severe disease if you are infected: HIV; other conditions that weaken your immune system; and a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema. If you have one of these conditions, it is especially important to see a provider right away, if you have symptoms.

To protect others while you are sick:

  • Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked by a provider.
  • Stay home and separate from other people in your household.
  • If you cannot fully separate from others in your household, wear a face mask and avoid physical contact. Wear clothing that covers your lesions when in shared spaces.
  • If you must leave home for essential needs or medical care, cover your rash and lesions with clothing and wear a face mask.
  • Do not share or let others touch your clothing, towels, bedding or utensils. Do not share a bed.
  • Do not share dishes, food, drink or utensils. Wash dishes with warm water and soap or in a dishwasher.
  • Wash your hands and clean shared surfaces, such as countertops and doorknobs, often. Household members should also wash their hands often, especially if they touch materials or surfaces that may have come in contact with lesions.

There is no specific treatment approved for monkeypox. Most people get better on their own without treatment. However, antivirals for smallpox may help. Your provider will help you find out if you are eligible for antiviral treatment. They may be able to prescribe medicine and provide information about symptom relief.


Vaccination After Possible Exposure

Eligible New Yorkers who may have been recently exposed to monkeypox can get the JYNNEOSTM vaccine. Vaccination is free and available regardless of immigration status.

Getting vaccinated after a recent exposure may reduce the chance of you getting monkeypox, and it can reduce symptoms if you do get it.

People should get two doses, at least four weeks apart.

Vaccine Eligibility

Eligibility for monkeypox vaccination may change as the outbreak evolves and based on vaccine supply.

People who meet all of the following conditions can now be vaccinated:

  • Gay, bisexual, or other man who has sex with men, and/or transgender, gender non-conforming, or gender non-binary
  • Age 18 or older
  • Have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days

If you had monkeypox, then you likely have some protection against another infection and are currently not eligible to be vaccinated.

People who have been informed by the Health Department that they are a close contact of someone with monkeypox should also get vaccinated.

If you are eligible to be vaccinated, you should especially consider getting vaccinated if:

  • Your partners are showing symptoms of monkeypox, such as a rash or sores.
  • You met recent partners through online applications or social media platforms (such as Grindr, Tinder or Scruff), or at clubs, raves, sex parties, saunas or other large gatherings.
  • You have a condition that may increase your risk for severe disease if infected with monkeypox virus, such as HIV or another condition that weakens your immune system, or you have a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema.

We are still learning about how well the vaccine can protect you. Even after getting vaccinated, you should still take precautions, especially if you are at high risk for severe illness from monkeypox.

How to Get Vaccinated

People vaccinated at an NYC Health Department clinic will be contacted about scheduling a second dose appointment in the coming weeks.


 

For more information about monkeypox, call 311.


Additional Resources