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 is not usually seen.
The monkeypox virus is most often spread through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus. It can also spread through contact with clothing, bedding and other items used by a person with monkeypox, or from respiratory droplets that can be passed through prolonged face-to-face contact. At this time, it is not known if monkeypox can spread through semen or vaginal fluids.
Transmission can happen during sex or other intimate activities, including:
Symptoms usually start seven to 14 days after exposure, but in some cases they may not appear for up to 21 days.
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. They can last for two to four weeks.
Before or at the same time when the rash or sores appear, people may have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache, and tiredness. In some cases, monkeypox can cause severe illness.
If you think you have symptoms, separate from others and contact a health care provider.
To reduce the chance of getting and spreading monkeypox:
When making plans, consider the level of risk. Clubs, raves, saunas, sex parties and other places with skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact with many people may increase your risk of exposure.
Eligible New Yorkers who may have been recently exposed to monkeypox can get the JYNNEOSTM vaccine. This vaccine has been approved by the FDA for the prevention of monkeypox in people ages 18 and older.
Getting vaccinated after a recent exposure reduces the chance of you getting monkeypox, and it can reduce symptoms if you do get it. You must take two doses of the vaccine, four weeks apart.
Gay, bisexual and other men (ages 18 and older) who have sex with men and have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last 14 days are eligible to receive the vaccine.
Vaccination is free and available regardless of immigration status.
You should especially consider getting vaccinated if:
Note: People who have a fever, rash or sores that may be monkeypox cannot get vaccinated. Instead, they should separate from others and contact a health care provider.
Vaccination is available only at the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic (303 Ninth Avenue, Manhattan). The clinic is available for monkeypox vaccinations on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Appointments are currently required.
If you are eligible to be vaccinated, you can make an appointment online.
Appointment slots will only be held for 15 minutes at the clinic, so make sure you arrive on time.
Note: If you are identified as a close contact of someone who has monkeypox, the Health Department will reach out to you to help you get vaccinated.
There is no specific treatment approved for monkeypox. Most people get better on their own without treatment. However, antivirals developed for use in patients with smallpox may prove beneficial.
If you start experiencing symptoms, talk to your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call 311. A provider will check your symptoms and may order testing.
A person is contagious until all sores have healed and a new layer of skin has formed, which can take two to four weeks.
To protect others while you are sick: