Mpox (formerly referred to as Monkeypox) is caused by infection with a virus related to smallpox. Mpox is less serious than smallpox and is almost never fatal. Vaccination and treatment are available to eligible individuals at risk of contracting mpox or experiencing severe illness.
Find out more about where to get tested for Mpox if you have symptoms.
Get vaccinated against mpox if you meet eligibility criteria.
Symptoms of mpox include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches, backache, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, cough, and rash. All people with mpox develop a rash, but not all people with mpox experience other symptoms. The rash may precede other symptoms, or the rash may appear after other symptoms begin. The rash evolves in stages, developing a scab and then healing. It may be painful or itchy. The mpox rash may appear similar to other rashes, blisters, or acne. Any person with a new rash or symptoms consistent with mpox should be evaluated by a healthcare provider.
Mpox symptoms begin within 3 weeks of exposure. Mpox is contagious for approximately 2-4 weeks. It can be spread between the period when a rash appears until the rash has completed healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed.
Mpox is spread through direct physical contact with an ill person, or direct contact with items touched by an ill person. The current outbreak of mpox consists primarily of men who have sex with men.
To avoid spreading mpox, a person with mpox should isolate at home, avoid contact with others, and avoid sharing items that may be contaminated with the mpox virus. Disinfect surfaces that may be touched by other people. If a person with mpox must be around others, wear a well-fitting mask.
Although a specific treatment for mpox infection has not been developed, antiviral medication may be appropriate for people at risk of more severe illness. Most people recover from infection within 2-4 weeks without treatment.
People at high risk for mpox infection can be vaccinated. Risk factors for contracting mpox include having contact with a person already infected with mpox; men who have sex with men who report multiple sexual partners, new sexual partners, or anonymous sexual partners in the past 2 weeks; and people whose jobs may expose them to mpox, such as laboratory workers or certain healthcare workers. Mpox vaccines are available to individuals who meet eligibility criteria. Learn more about vaccine availability, including where to obtain a vaccine, from CDPHE.
Non-vaccine Preventive Measures
To prevent mpox illness, avoid direct physical contact with a person who has a rash or has tested positive for mpox. Do not touch or share objects with a person who has mpox. Wash hands frequently with soap and water, including after using the bathroom and before eating.
The current outbreak of Mpox includes cases in Colorado, including Douglas County. For the latest case counts in Colorado and detailed case counts by county, see the CDPHE Monkeypox Case Data.
The risk of mpox to children and adolescents is currently low. The risk of transmission in schools and childcare facilities is also low. Widespread vaccination of children and staff is not currently recommended unless a known exposure to mpox has recently occurred. Learn more from the CDC’s Schools, Early Care and Education Programs, and Other Settings Serving Children or Adolescents and CDC’s What You Need to Know about Monkeypox if You are a Teen or Young Adult Fact Sheet.