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What should I know about MPV/Mpox?

Although the daily number of MPV/Mpox cases (formerly known as monkeypox) has declined drastically nationwide since August 2022, a recent surge in infections has led the CDC to predict that another outbreak may occur in summer 2023. Please read below for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about MPV/Mpox, along with links to official government resources with even more helpful information. And remember, always consult your primary care provider with any questions about your specific health situation.

Although MPV/Mpox is rarely fatal, its symptoms can be severe and painful enough to disrupt your life for several weeks. Long-term impacts to your health are also possible. As is the case with all infectious diseases, you should use caution and best position yourself not to catch or spread it, particularly out of concern for those with compromised immune systems. To stay up to date on the latest information and case counts, please visit the NYC Health website.

Unlike COVID-19, which is largely an airborne virus, MPV/Mpox mostly spreads through direct contact with someone who has the virus, particularly if they have a rash or sore on their skin. You can also catch MPV/Mpox by coming in contact with clothes, bedding, or other items that have been worn or touched by someone with the virus. Besides direct contact, MPV/Mpox can also spread through close face-to-face contact.

Engaging in sex, kissing, and other intimate activities with someone carrying the MPV/Mpox virus puts you at great risk of catching it yourself. Although it is not currently known if MPV/Mpox spreads through saliva, semen, vaginal fluids, or feces, you should still avoid all close contact with someone who you know has the virus.

Although anyone can catch and spread MPV/Mpox, current case numbers show that the virus is primarily spreading among communities of gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men. Whether you are part of this community or not, you should still take extra precautions during this time.

To stay up to date on the latest information, please visit the NYC Health website.

In most cases, MPV/Mpox symptoms develop within two weeks of exposure to the virus, but can sometimes take up to three weeks. Symptoms typically last two to four weeks.

The most common MPV/Mpox symptoms are itchy and painful rashes or sores. These can resemble pimples or blisters and can appear anywhere on your body, particularly your face, hands, feet, mouth, genitals, or anus. Complications from these rashes or sores can include proctitis (an inflammation of the rectal lining) and scarring of your eyes, mouth, anus, or urethra.

MPV/Mpox can also cause flu-like symptoms in some people, which can occur either before or at the same time as the rash or sores. These symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, headache, and fatigue.

If you’re experiencing any symptoms of MPV/Mpox, isolate yourself from others and contact a health care provider for evaluation.

To stay up to date on the latest information on potential symptoms, please visit the NYC Health website.

MPV/Mpox vaccinations are currently available to people of any sexual orientation or gender identity who believe they may be at risk of catching the virus through sexual or intimate contact. Individuals who have already had MPV/Mpox are not currently eligible to receive a vaccination, as they have likely developed a natural immunity against the virus. Visit the NYC Health website for more information on the MPV/Mpox vaccine and where you can find a vaccination appointment.

Even after receiving your MPV/Mpox vaccination, you should still keep in mind the risks of close or intimate contact with others and take precautions when necessary. Be aware that you or someone else could be carrying the MPV/Mpox virus and not know it.

If you or your partner are experiencing MPV/Mpox symptoms, especially new rashes or sores, avoid close contact with one another, including sex. You should also avoid gatherings and limit your close contact with anyone else until you have received further guidance from a health care provider. If you are unable to avoid close contact with others or are visiting a provider for medical treatment, cover any sores and rashes with clothing or sealed bandages. This may help reduce the risk of transmission, but will not eliminate it entirely.

If you are recovering from MPV/Mpox, remember to wash your clothes, bedding, or anything else you were in contact with while you were sick, as they could still carry traces of the virus.

To stay up to date on the latest information and guidance, please visit the NYC Health website.

If you’re experiencing MPV/Mpox symptoms or believe you may be carrying the virus, isolate yourself and speak with a health care provider as soon as possible. You may be at increased risk for severe disease if you are HIV-positive or otherwise have a weakened immune system. Skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis or eczema may also put you at increased risk.

If you have MPV/Mpox, you are considered contagious until all of your sores or rashes have healed completely, which can take two to four weeks. There is currently no approved treatment for MPV/Mpox, and most people recover without treatment. However, based on your specific health situation, your provider may recommend antiviral treatment or other medicines to relieve your symptoms.

To stay up to date on the latest information and guidance, please visit the NYC Health website