What Is Mpox?
Mpox (formerly called monkeypox) is a disease caused by monkeypox virus. It got its name when it was discovered in lab monkeys in 1958. This virus is similar to the one that causes smallpox, but is less contagious and usually causes a milder disease.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Mpox?
Mpox causes fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph nodes , and a rash. The rash begins as flat spots that turn into bumps, which then fill with fluid. Some people develop spots that look like pimples or blisters before having any other symptoms. The bumps crust and fall off as they heal. The rash can be painful or itchy. Usually, people feel better within 2 to 4 weeks. But sometimes the virus can make a person very ill.
How Does Mpox Spread?
The virus can spread from close contact with infected people or animals.
Someone can become infected if they:
- have contact with blood, body fluids (such as during sexual contact), or fluid from the blisters
- use bedding or other items contaminated by the virus
- breathe in the virus
It can take 5 to 21 days after exposure for symptoms to start.
Who Is at Risk of Getting Very Ill With Mpox?
Young children, pregnant women, people with a weak immune system, and people who have severe eczema are more at risk to become very ill if they get mpox.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Kids can get rashes from many different causes. If anyone in your family develops a new rash that looks like pimples or blisters, or has other possible symptoms of mpox, call your doctor so they can find out what is causing the symptoms.
Also let the doctor know if anyone in your family has had contact with someone diagnosed with mpox.
Can Mpox Be Prevented?
Smallpox vaccines are effective against mpox infection, and a vaccine created to prevent both smallpox and mpox is available, if needed.
As with many germs, washing hands well and often, masking, and avoiding contact with sick people and animals can help protect someone from getting sick.
How Is Mpox Treated?
A person with mpox needs to stay home and keep away from other household members to avoid infecting anyone else. They may be told to take over-the-counter medicines for fever, pain, or itching. As with other infections, it is important to stay well hydrated.
Doctors can prescribe an antiviral medicine for people who are at high risk for getting very sick from mpox.