Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. While this disease was first identified in primates, other animals, such as rodents, can also spread the virus to humans. In previous years, monkeypox infections were mostly seen in African countries. However, since May 2022,  increasing numbers of monkeypox cases have been reported in different countries. This has prompted the World Health Organization to declare monkeypox as a public health emergency of international concern.

Last Updated: September 27, 2023

Monkeypox can be passed from one person to another by: 


  • Droplet transmission (cough or sneezes of a person who has monkeypox)
  • Touching objects or clothing that have been used by someone with monkeypox 
  • Direct, skin-to-skin contact with monkeypox blisters and scabs like:
    • Oral, vaginal, or anal sex
    • Kissing
    • Cuddling
    • Holding hands


Monkeypox can also be passed from an animal to a person if he/she: 


  • Gets bitten or scratched
  • Touches the bodily fluids of an infected animal 
  • Eats the meat of an infected animal (especially if the meat is not cooked properly)

Monkeypox may present with the following signs and symptoms: 


  • A rash on the face, mouth, chest, hands, genitals, or feet
  • Flu-like symptoms (cough, colds, sore throat)
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen glands
  • Chills
  • Fatigue


Monkeypox symptoms may be first observed within 5-21 days after getting infected. Symptoms can last for 2-4 weeks.


While there are no specific treatments for monkeypox, drugs that treat smallpox may be used because of genetic similarities between the monkeypox and smallpox viruses.  For those with severe monkeypox symptoms, consult with your doctor to see if hospital treatment is needed.

Here are a few tips that might help limit the spread of monkeypox: 


  • Avoid people who have been diagnosed with monkeypox 
  • Avoid animals that may have the monkeypox virus
  • Avoid touching objects or clothing that have been used by someone with monkeypox 
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water
  • For those likely to be exposed to someone with monkeypox, vaccination is recommended
    • Smallpox vaccines, such as  ACAM2000 and Jynneos, are used to prevent monkeypox 



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022). Monkeypox Signs and Symptoms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved August 7, 2022, from 

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2022, July 29). What is Monkeypox, how does it spread and how can it be prevented? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved August 7, 2022, from 

NHS. (2022). Monkeypox. NHS choices. Retrieved August 7, 2022, from 

Thornhill, J., Barkati, S., Walmsley, S., et al. (2022). Monkeypox virus infection in humans across 16 countries — April–June 2022. N Engl J Med.

Last Updated: September 27, 2023