Web Content Viewer

Frequently Asked Questions about Mpox

Image of the Monkeypox virus

The Ohio Department of Health is updating webpages with the term "mpox" to reduce stigma and other issues associated with prior terminology. This change is aligned with the recent World Health Organization decision.

What is mpox?

Mpox is a rare disease caused by infection with a virus. We’ve known mpox can cause disease in people since 1970. Before 2022, mpox was mostly seen in parts of central and west Africa. During 2022, mpox was reported in places where it is not usually found. This includes countries around the world, including the U.S. and here in Ohio. 

Is there a treatment for mpox?

Vaccines and drugs used to help prevent and treat similar viruses can also work for mpox. Most people get better without medication. Your healthcare provider can help assess if vaccination or medication is needed. Vaccines can help prevent the disease from occurring. Prescription medicine can help treat symptoms. For some people with weak immune systems or other health conditions, medication can help.

What are the symptoms?

Mpox can cause a rash that may look like pimples or blisters. The rash will change and turn to scabs before healing  The rash may be on one or more areas of the body including hands, feet, chest, face, genitals, anus, or inside the mouth. 

Some people may get flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion. Sometimes, people get a rash first, then get other symptoms. Other people only get a rash. Symptoms usually appear 1-2 weeks after infection. Most infections last 2-4 weeks and get better without medication.

If you think you have mpox, please contact your local healthcare provider for testing and limit contact with other individuals.

What should I do if I suspect I have mpox or have had close contact with someone who has it?

Testing is the best way to determine if an infection is mpox. Contact your healthcare provider if you have a new rash or have had close contact with someone who may have mpox. While you wait to hear about your test result, avoid sex or close contact with others. Cover skin rashes and wear a face mask if you must be around other people.

How is mpox transmitted?

Mpox does not spread easily between people, but it can spread from person to
person through close contact.

  • Avoid direct contact with the rash, sores, scabs, or body fluids from a person with mpox.
  • Avoid prolonged, close face-to-face contact with someone who has mpox.
  • Do not touch personal items used by a person with mpox (for example: clothing, bedding, or towels).
  • mpox can spread during sex as well as kissing and close contact.

Can I spread mpox to people who live with me?

If your doctor says you have mpox or you think you might have mpox, you should isolate and avoid close contact with others until the rash is gone. Protect the people who live with you by cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and items. Do not share items that could be contaminated like bed linens, clothing, towels, plates, cups, forks, spoons, or knives. Learn more about how to prevent spread at home on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

If I have mpox, how long can I give it to other people?

A person with mpox is contagious until all the scabs on their body are gone and a new layer of skin is formed.

Can my pets get mpox?

mpox is zoonotic, meaning it can spread between animals and people. Although the CDC does not believe that mpox poses a high risk to pets, it may be possible for people who are infected to spread mpox to animals through close contact, including petting, sharing sleeping areas, and sharing food. To keep the virus from spreading, people with mpox should avoid contact with animals. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information about pets and mpox.

How can I protect myself against mpox?

Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash.

  • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with mpox.
  • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with mpox.

Avoid contact with items that a person with mpox has used or touched.

  • Do not share dishes, forks, spoons, knives, or cups with a person with mpox.
  • Do not touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with mpox.
  • Clean and disinfect items that someone with mpox has touched.

Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.

Is there a mpox vaccine available?

The CDC does not recommend the mpox vaccine for the general public. The vaccine is available for people who have been exposed to mpox or are at high risk for exposure.

Right now, Ohio has a very small supply of vaccine to help prevent mpox. The vaccine is being given to communities with the most cases to help limit spread.

Who can get a mpox vaccine?

The CDC does not recommend the mpox vaccine for the general public. The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to mpox and people who may be more likely to get mpox.

People more likely to get mpox include:

  • People who have been told by their health department that they are a contact of someone diagnosed with mpox.
  • People who find out a sexual partner in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with mpox.
  • People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known mpox.
  • People who work in medical labs and some healthcare or public health workers.

Where can I get a mpox vaccine?

The vaccine supply is currently limited.

If you have been exposed to mpox or believe you are at high risk for exposure, please contact your healthcare provider or your local health department for more information. Vaccine is currently available in communities with identified cases and where the risk of spread is highest.