What is Mpox?
Mpox is a viral infection that typically causes a mild illness with symptoms including fever, body aches, swelling of the lymph nodes, as well as a rash (sometimes called lesions) that look like chickenpox or syphilis. The rash can be painful and may start on the pubic area, genitals, or around the anus. More information including pictures can be found here.
How is Mpox spread?
Mpox is spread through close contact with another person with a current Mpox infection. Mpox can also be spread by:
- Direct contact with Mpox rash or scabs on a person’s skin.
- Contact with items (such as clothing, bedding, or towels) and surfaces that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids.
- Contact with respiratory droplets or fluids during prolonged, face-to-face contact.
Who is at risk for Mpox?
Anyone can get and spread Mpox, regardless of gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. People who are in close contact (skin-to-skin or face-to-face) with a person with Mpox can get infected.
The current outbreak is primarily spreading through sex and close, intimate contact among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men; and gender non-conforming, non-binary, and transgender people. People in these groups are at highest risk of exposure.
The best way to help prevent the spread of Mpox virus is to:
- Avoid close contact, including kissing, cuddling, massage, sex, and other skin-to-skin contact with people with symptoms like sores or rashes.
- Limit sex or other intimate, skin-to-skin contact to include only people you know and trust.
- Always talk with your sexual partner(s) about any recent illness. Be aware that symptoms of Mpox sometimes begin with a fever and respiratory illness.
- Avoid touching objects and items that may have been in contact with rash/lesions or body secretions like saliva. This may include toothbrushes, utensils, sheets/bedding, towels, clothing.
- Be aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including on the genitals and anus. If you develop a new rash, contact your health care provider for testing. While you wait for the test result, isolate at home. If you are unable to isolate, cover the lesions using bandages and avoid skin-to-skin contact with others to avoid spreading the virus.
For more information on how to prevent the spread, see CDC Prevent the Spread of Mpox.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I do if I have been exposed to Mpox?
People who have been exposed to Mpox should contact a healthcare provider to talk about exposure, testing, and vaccine. People can also contact the Montgomery County Office of Public Health (MCOPH) at 610-278-5117 or MCOPHMPX@montgomerycountypa.gov for assistance.
What do I do if I think I am infected with Mpox?
People who are having symptoms should contact a healthcare provider to get tested for Mpox. To learn more about nearby healthcare providers who offer testing, visit Montgomery County Mpox Testing Providers Map.
For additional help getting tested, contact MCOPH at 610-278-5117 or MCOPHMPX@montgomerycountypa.gov.
How do I get vaccinated for Mpox?
MCOPH is currently offering free Mpox vaccine by appointment only for people who meet one of the following criteria:
- People who are a close contact with someone who has Mpox
- People who may be high risk or more likely to get Mpox
If you think you qualify for the Mpox vaccine please complete MCOPH’s online Mpox vaccine qualification form. The online form will help you find out if you qualify for the Mpox vaccine. For people who complete the online form and qualify for Mpox vaccine, an MCOPH staff member will contact you to make a vaccine appointment.
Can Mpox be treated?
Tecovirimat (TPOXX) is an antiviral drug that is currently under Expanded Access to Investigational Drug Application through the CDC for the treatment of Mpox. TPOXX should be considered for people infected with Mpox who have a weakened immune system or are at high risk for severe disease. People seeking treatment should contact their healthcare provider.
Healthcare providers should contact MCOPH at 610-278-5117 to request TPOXX.
Where can I find more information?
Mpox Town Hall Recording (8/31/2022)