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Help Prevent the Spread

The monkeypox virus is spreading mostly through close, intimate contact with someone who has monkeypox.

How Monkeypox is Spread

How does monkeypox spread?

The monkeypox virus is spreading mostly through close, intimate contact with someone who has monkeypox.

A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.

Monkeypox CAN spread from person to person through:

  • Sexual or intimate contact (including oral, anal, and vaginal sex)
  • Hugging, kissing, cuddling, and massage
  • Sharing a bed, towel, or clothes that have not been washed

Monkeypox does NOT spread from person to person through:

  • Walking by someone who is infected
  • Casual conversation with someone infected

Scientists are still researching:

  • If the virus can be spread when someone has no symptoms.
  • How often monkeypox is spread through respiratory secretions, or when a person with monkeypox symptoms might be more likely to spread the virus through respiratory secretions.
  • Whether monkeypox can be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or feces.

Prevention of Monkeypox

How can I help prevent the spread of monkeypox?

  • If you have symptoms of monkeypox, such as a new rash, stay home and call your healthcare provider.
  • Do not touch another person’s rash or scabs.
  • Do not share eating utensils, cups, clothing, bedding, towels, or personal grooming devices.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after contact with infected people or animals.
  • Wear a mask in situations where you may have lengthy or close face-to-face contact with people who may be infected.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information about prevention for people who are sexually active.

If you are at risk for contracting monkeypox, you may be eligible for vaccination. Please visit our vaccination page for more information.

Last updated: November 2, 2022

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