What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox (MPV) is a viral infection caused by the Monkeypox virus. Anyone who is in close physical contact with someone who has MPV can get the illness. Symptoms usually start within three weeks of being exposed and include a rash and fever.

Examples of how it spreads:
  • Close skin-to-skin contact with someone who has MPV, including hugging, cuddling, massaging, kissing, and intimate or sexual contact.
  • Prolonged, close face-to-face contact from talking, coughing, sneezing, and breathing. This mainly happens when living with or caring for someone who has monkeypox.
  • Sharing materials used by a person with monkeypox such as clothing, bedding, towels, and other personal items.

MPV is not spread through casual, brief conversations or walking by someone, like in a store or restaurant. Although anyone can get MPV if they are exposed, the majority of current cases in the U.S. are among males who have sex with males.

Who Should Be Vaccinated?

There are no treatments specifically for MPV infections. However, MPV and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox can be used to prevent and treat MPV infections.

The vaccine is available through the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. The CDC recommends the vaccine be given within four days from the date of exposure for the best chance to prevent onset of the disease. If given between four and 14 days after the date of exposure, vaccination may reduce the symptoms of disease but may not prevent the disease.

Those currently eligible for the vaccine include:
  • Anyone with a close/household contact with someone who has been exposed to MPV or is at higher risk due to their activities.
  • Any sex partner, household contact, or other with very close contact to a person with MPV in the past 14 days.
  • Anyone who plans to, or has within the last 14 days, had multiple anonymous sex partners.
  • Anyone who plans to, or has within the last 14 days, had close contact with others at a high-risk event or high-risk venue*.
  • Anyone taking HIV PreP or living with HIV.
  • Anyone who trades sex for money or drugs.
  • Any man who has sex with men and has had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the last year.
  • Anyone who has a partner that engages in higher-risk sexual activities, like having multiple anonymous sex partners.
  • Laboratory workers who perform testing for MPV (not collecting or packaging specimens).
  • Anyone who lives or works in a crowded setting that could be at risk for a MPV outbreak, based on the local MPV activity.
*A high-risk event or venue might be one where there is minimal clothing and direct, personal, often skin-to-skin contact or where intimate, often anonymous sexual contact occurs with multiple partners.

Vaccination Scheduling

To schedule an appointment at a local HDNW clinic call 800-432-4121.

Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Frequently Asked Questions
CDC Health Alert
Michigan Health & Human Services Information
Michigan Case Counts