Mpox is a contagious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. Anyone can get and spread mpox. Cases have mainly spread through sex and other intimate contact among social networks in the LGBTQ+ community.
If you have a new or unexpected rash or sores, contact a health care provider right away.
Mpox is spreading almost exclusively through oral, anal and vaginal sex, and other intimate contact such as rimming, hugging, kissing, biting, cuddling and massage.
Mpox can spread through:
It is not yet known whether mpox can spread through semen, vaginal fluid, urine or feces.
A person with mpox can spread the virus to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. Some people can spread mpox to others from one to four days before their symptoms appear — it is not known how common this is. There is currently no evidence of people who never developed symptoms spreading the virus to someone else.
For more information, see CDC: How Mpox Spreads.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent yourself from getting mpox and may also reduce your symptoms. You should get vaccinated against mpox if you may have been exposed or could be 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 following can help reduce your risk of getting and spreading mpox:
In the U.S., death from mpox is rare, but symptoms can still be painful and interfere with daily activities. Symptoms can be from mild to severe.
Symptoms usually start in three to 17 days after exposure, and can last for two to four weeks.
The most common symptom is a rash or sores that can initially 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 either before or at the same time as a rash, 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, urethra or other body part.
We do not know if mpox causes long-term health problems.
If you have symptoms that could be mpox, 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 mpox and other infections. Testing for mpox involves a provider taking a swab of a sore. Your provider can 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.
These resources show data and cases from the mpox outbreak in NYC from May to December, 2022. Data show confirmed and probable cases of mpox among people who live in NYC. Cases of people who primarily reside outside of NYC are not included.