Sep 1, 2022 Monkeypox: Everything You Need to Know


What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. It is part of the same family of viruses as the variola virus, which is the virus that causes smallpox.

People with monkeypox develop a rash that fills with fluid and then forms a scab. The rash will go through four stages before scabs fall off, a process that takes about 2-3 weeks.

While most cases have typically been found in central and western Africa, there have been recent outbreaks in parts of Europe and North America.

Rarely fatal, monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox but milder.

What are the symptoms?

Similar to the flu, early symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Backache
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion / malaise

As the virus progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Blister-like rash (sometimes appearing before the early symptoms), often resembling pimples, that can appear on various parts of the body, such as the:
    • Face
    • Inside of the mouth
    • Hands
    • Feet
    • Chest
    • Genitals
    • Anus
  • Fever
  • Drenching sweats
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache

Rash lesions are usually painful until they begin to dry – during which they turn itchy.

How can I get tested for monkeypox?

Commercial labs are not taking self-referred walk-ins for monkeypox testing; only a health care provider can order a monkeypox test. If you have symptoms of monkeypox, contact your health care provider to be evaluated for possible testing.

For more information about testing, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH).

How is it transmitted?

Monkeypox is not easily transmitted between people without close contact.

Monkeypox spreads through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:

  • Direct contact – mostly through intimate sexual contact – with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions through prolonged face-to-face contact.

The virus can spread from the time symptoms begin until all sores are resolved. A person should remain isolated until the scabs from the rash fall off and new skin forms – this marks the point where a person is no longer contagious.

Is there treatment for monkeypox?

While there are no specific treatments for monkeypox, antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), and other treatments for smallpox may be effective against monkeypox. The type of treatment for a person with monkeypox will depend on how sick someone gets or whether they are likely to become severely ill. Most people with monkeypox recover fully within 2-4 weeks without the need for medical treatment. Drugs used to treat monkeypox require a prescription.

Consult your health care provider if you were exposed to or suspect you have monkeypox. For more information on the treatment of monkeypox, visit the CDC website.

Who is eligible for the monkeypox vaccine?

The vaccine, JYNNEOSTM – known as Imvamune or Imvanex – is currently available in the U.S. with limited supply. The two-dose live vaccine, administered four weeks apart, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for preventing monkeypox in high risk groups.

The CDC identifies people who are more likely to contract monkeypox and, therefore, eligible for the vaccine, as those who:

  • Have been in contact with someone with monkeypox;
  • Know that one of their sexual partners in the last two weeks has been diagnosed with the virus; and
  • Have had multiple sexual partners in the last two weeks in areas of known monkeypox.

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose. They can be vaccinated at approved NJDOH vaccination centers.

Where can I be vaccinated in New Jersey?

The New Jersey Department of Health has designated several monkeypox vaccination sites throughout the state.

To find a site near you, click here.

Where can I get more information about monkeypox?

For more information on monkeypox, current outbreak data and demographics, prevention strategies, concerns for children, and other virus information, visit:

The CDC monkeypox information page

The NJDOH monkeypox information page