What to Know About Monkeypox

Monkeypox, now known as mpox, is a rare, but possibly serious illness caused by the monkeypox virus. Although most cases do not require hospitalization, mpox is dangerous, highly contagious, and uncomfortable.

At this time, experts say that most recent cases of mpox have occured in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.  But ANYONE, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, who has been in close, personal contact with someone who has mpox is at risk.

The Symptoms of Mpox

People with mpox often get a rash on their hands, feet, chest, face, mouth, and/or near their genitals.

  • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
  • The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
  • Sometimes, people have flu-like symptoms before the rash.

Other symptoms of mpox can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Headache
  • Sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough

People may experience all or only a few symptoms. Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others may only get a rash.

Learn more about the signs and symptoms of mpox.

How Mpox Spreads 

Mpox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including direct contact with mpox rash and scabs from a person with mpox, as well as contact with their saliva, upper respiratory secretions (snot, mucus), and areas around the anus, rectum, or vagina.

Learn more about how mpox spreads from one person to another.

How to Prevent  Yourself and Others from Mpox

Vaccination is an important tool in preventing the spread of mpox. The CDC recommends getting the mpox vaccine if you were close to someone with mpox or if you are at higher risk of being exposed to mpox. For the best protection, it is important to get vaccinated with both doses of the vaccine.

Monkeypox (Mpox) in DC

If you are a DC resident, visit DC Health’s website to see the updated eligibility criteria for mpox vaccinations in the District.

As of April 1, DC residents can visit the DC Health & Wellness Center and Whitman-Walker Health to get the mpox vaccine (by appointment only).  For more mpox vaccine locations, check out the CDC’s mpox vaccine locator on the CDC’s mpox vaccination page.

Resources from DC Health