Signs and Symptoms

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Know Signs and Symptoms of Mpox

Mpox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. People with mpox often get a rash. For some people, the illness starts with flu-like symptoms that begin a few days before a rash appears.

Mpox Rash

What does the mpox rash look like?

The rash can look like pimples or blisters. It often begins on the genitals or perianal area, or in and around the mouth. In these situations, the mpox rash could be confused with a more common sexually transmitted infection (STI). The rash might develop on just one part of the body or can appear on many parts of the body. These lesions might be painful.

Rash lesions go through different stages, shown in the photographs below, before healing.

Lesions from mpox virus

Photo credit: UK Health Security Agency

Other Symptoms of Mpox

What are the other symptoms of mpox?

Other mpox symptoms can happen before or after you get a rash. These include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Tiredness
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Who is at risk for severe symptoms?

People with certain conditions may be more likely to develop severe illness. These include people with weakened immune systems, children under 1 year of age, people with a history of eczema, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you have severe symptoms of mpox or you are at high risk for developing severe mpox symptoms, contact your healthcare provider about possible medical treatment for mpox.


Length of Illness

How long does the illness last?

The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. If you have a rash, keep it covered and stay away from others until it has healed and a new layer has formed.

If You Have Symptoms

What do I do if I have symptoms of Mpox?

If you have symptoms, avoid contact with people and pets and keep your rash covered.

Visit your healthcare provider to see if you should get tested for mpox. Please call ahead before going to a healthcare facility and let them know that you are concerned about mpox. You may be asked screening questions before you are scheduled for testing.

Last updated: July 13, 2023

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