Text: Protect yourself and others from MPV.

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Monkeypox (MPV)

Go to: Transmission | Prevention | Symptoms

Name Change

The Health Department is updating its webpages with the term "mpox" to align with the recent World Health Organization decision.

MPV is a contagious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. There is currently an outbreak of MPV in the U.S. and other countries where the virus does not usually spread.

Anyone can get and spread MPV. The current cases are primarily spreading through sex and other intimate contact among social networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM); transgender people; gender-nonconforming people; and nonbinary people.

If you have a new or unexpected rash or sores, contact a health care provider.


In the current outbreak, MPV is spreading mainly during oral, anal and vaginal sex and other intimate contact, such as rimming, hugging, kissing, biting, cuddling and massage.

The virus can spread through:

  • Direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus
  • Contact with clothing, bedding and other items used by a person with MPV
  • Prolonged face-to-face contact

Experts are currently studying whether the virus can also spread through semen, saliva, feces and other body fluids.

People can spread the virus when they have symptoms. Experts are studying whether the virus can spread before symptoms start or after they end.


You should get vaccinated against MPV if you may have been exposed or are at risk of exposure in the future. See the Vaccination page for more information about vaccination, including who is eligible and recommendations for who should get vaccinated.

The best way to protect yourself from MPV is to avoid sex and other intimate contact with multiple or anonymous partners.

If you choose to have sex or other intimate contact, the following can help reduce your risk:

  • Reduce your number of partners, especially those you do not know or whose recent sexual history you do not know.
  • Ask your partners if they have MPV symptoms or feel sick. 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 sex parties, circuit parties and other spaces where people are having sex and other intimate contact with multiple people.
  • If you choose to have sex or other intimate contact while sick, cover all rashes and sores with clothing or sealed bandages. This may reduce spread from contact with the rash or sores, but other methods of transmission may still be possible.
  • Since it may be possible the virus can be transmitted through semen, use latex or polyurethane condoms during sex.
  • Do not share towels, clothing, fetish gear, sex toys or toothbrushes.
  • Wash your hands, fetish gear and bedding. Sex toys should be washed after each use or sex act.

Prevention Resources


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

In the current outbreak, hospitalization and death from MPV are rare, but symptoms can still be painful and interfere with daily activities.

Symptoms usually start in three to 17 days. They can last for two to four weeks.

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. The rash and sores can be extremely itchy and painful, and sores in the anus or urethra can make it hard to go to the bathroom. Some people also have flu-like symptoms, such as sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache and tiredness.

Complications can include inflammation of the lining of the rectum (proctitis), or sores that could result in scarring of the eye, mouth, anus or urethra.

We do not know if MPV causes long-term health problems.

If You Have Symptoms

If you start experiencing symptoms, even if they are mild, talk to your health care provider. If you do not have a health care provider, call 311 or search the NYC Health Map. A provider will check your symptoms and may order testing for MPV and other infections. Testing for MPV involves a provider taking a swab of a sore. Your provider can also prescribe treatment and pain management, if necessary.

For more information on care, treatment and the precautions you should take to keep yourself and others safe, visit What to Do When Sick.

For more information about MPV, call 311.

Additional Resources