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Monkeypox (Orthopoxvirus)

Cases in NYC

As of June 24, 39 people in New York City have tested positive for orthopoxvirus. All cases are likely monkeypox.

Most of these people have had mild illness, have not been hospitalized and have recovered on their own. Even with mild illness, the rash and sores from monkeypox can be itchy and painful.

Anyone can get and spread monkeypox. The current cases are primarily spreading among social networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, so this community is currently at greater risk of exposure.

If you have a new or unexpected rash or other symptoms of monkeypox, contact a health care provider.

Vaccination

Vaccination is available for people who may have been recently exposed to monkeypox. Eligible people can get the two-dose vaccine at the Chelsea Sexual Health Clinic on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Appointments are currently required.

Note: All vaccination appointment slots have been filled through Monday, June 27. The Health Department has not yet received additional doses and will not be able to offer more appointments yet. Walk-in vaccinations are no longer available at this time. We are requesting additional supply from the CDC to meet the high demand.

Learn more about vaccination eligibility and how to make an appointment.

Resources for Providers


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:

  • Oral, anal and vaginal sex
  • Hugging, kissing, cuddling and massage
  • Coming in contact with bedding or other items that have the virus on them during or after intimate activity.

Symptoms

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

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.


Prevention

To reduce the chance of getting and spreading monkeypox:

  • 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 clubs, parties or gatherings until you have talked to a health care provider.
  • Wash your hands, sex toys and bedding before and after sex or other intimate activities.

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.


Vaccination After Possible Exposure During 2022 Outbreak

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.

Eligibility

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:

  • 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 Grinder, Tinder or Scruff), or at clubs, raves, sex parties, saunas or other large gatherings.

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.

How to Get Vaccinated

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.


If You Have Symptoms

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:

  • 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.

Additional Resources

More Information