Public health officials are tracking multiple cases of monkeypox that have been reported in several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox (view global map), including the United States. For travelers, see: Travel Health Notice for Monkeypox in Multiple Countries.
It’s not clear how people were exposed to monkeypox, but early data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases. However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.
What You Should Do
Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to their healthcare provider, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox. People who may be at higher risk might include but are not limited to those who:
- Had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox
- Had skin-to-skin contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity, this includes men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, digital application (“app”), or social event (e.g., a bar or party)
- Traveled outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing
- Had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that exists only in Africa or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.)
There are other contagious illnesses that can cause rash or skin lesions. For example, syphilis and herpes are much more common than monkeypox, can appear similar, and should be treated too.
How to protect yourself
- Consider covering exposed skin in dense, indoor crowds
- Don’t share bedding, clothing with others
- Talk to close physical contacts about their general health like recent rashes or sores
- Stay aware if traveling to countries where there are outbreaks
How to protect others
If you have symptoms particularly a rash consistent with monkeypox, or if you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox:
- Stay home if feeling sick
- Contact a health care provider as soon as possible for an evaluation
- Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others, including sexual contact, until a medical evaluation has been completed
- Inform sex partners of symptoms
- Cover the area of the rash with clean, dry, loose-fitting clothing
- Wear a well-fitted mask
- Assist public health officials to track others who may have been exposed