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Monkeypox usually causes a mild illness, and most people recover on their own. Antivirals are available for patients who might have severe disease or develop complications. The need for vaccine will also be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for individuals who are or who may have been exposed to monkeypox virus. Currently, there is no need for broad use of the vaccine or treatment. Individuals with monkeypox should isolate until their lesions have healed. Monkeypox disease is caused by the monkeypox virus, which is usually found in several countries in Africa. An international outbreak was first reported in May 2022, with most of the cases likely from the virus spreading between people, mostly among men who have sex with men.

The virus does not easily spread between people with casual contact, but transmission can occur through contact with infectious sores and body fluids; contaminated items, such as clothing or bedding; or through respiratory droplets associated with prolonged face-to-face contact. Some people will have flu-like symptoms — such as a fever, body aches, and chills — and may have swollen lymph nodes in the days before a rash appears. The rash may start on any body part as small, red spots. They can become firm and circular with a defined border and may become pus-filled with an indentation (like a dot) in the middle. Someone with monkeypox is contagious from the time their symptoms begin until all lesions have healed, and fresh skin has formed. A typical illness lasts two to four weeks and most people get better on their own without treatment. However, sometimes monkeypox can lead to more severe illness and in rare cases even be fatal.

Some of the ways you can help prevent infection with monkeypox virus include:

• Wash your hands, especially after contact with possibly infected people and contact with materials like bedding that have touched any lesions.
• Limit direct contact with anyone who has a new rash.
• Stay home except for medical appointments if you have a new rash.
• Isolate from household members and pets if you have a new rash.
• Wear personal protective equipment if caring for someone with monkeypox.

If you have symptoms of monkeypox, you should see your health care provider. Please call ahead for next steps.

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