FAQ for people who have Monkeypox


What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

What treatments are available for monkeypox?

There are currently no treatments specifically for monkeypox. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs developed to treat smallpox, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be used to treat monkeypox. This treatment may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems, or people with complications from the infection or symptoms not controlled with supportive care.

I tested positive for monkeypox, what should I do?

People who tested positive for monkeypox should self-isolate at home and away from others. If possible, you should have your own separate bedroom and bathroom. You should not go to work, school or other public areas. You should avoid contact with others including family, friends, or others without an essential need to be in the home. Do not engage in sexual activity that involves direct physical contact with others. Do not share potentially contaminated items, such as bed linens, towels, clothing, drinking glasses or eating utensils. You should also routinely clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces in your home. If possible, cover any skin rashes or lesions to the extent possible by wearing long pants or long sleeves or with band-aids or gauze.

Individuals who test positive for monkeypox should avoid using contact lenses to prevent inadvertent infection and potentially serious infection of the eye.
Although human-to-animal spread is rare, you should also avoid contact with any pets in your home as there is a risk of transmitting monkeypox to your pet and certain animals are a known reservoir for monkeypox. If possible, friends or family should care for healthy animals until you have fully recovered. If your pet develops an illness, contact your veterinarian immediately and inform her or him of your pet’s exposure to monkeypox.

If your symptoms worsen to a point where you need to seek medical care, please call ahead so that your healthcare providers can plan and take proper precautions prior to your arrival. When visiting a facility, you should wear a well-fitting mask and cover any lesions to the best extent possible.

When was I exposed to monkeypox?

The incubation period (time from exposure to illness) for monkeypox is typically 7-14 days but can be up to 21 days prior to the onset of the prodrome or early symptoms of monkeypox. These symptoms may include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes or a general feeling of being unwell (malaise). It is important that when speaking to the health department and identify any partners during this period as they may potentially be infected with monkeypox.

updated 7/22/2022