Monkeypox is caused by infection with a virus related to smallpox. Monkeypox is less serious than smallpox and is almost never fatal. Vaccination and treatment are available to eligible individuals at risk of contracting monkeypox or experiencing severe illness.
Find out more about where to get tested for Monkeypox if you have symptoms.
Get vaccinated against monkeypox if you meet eligibility criteria.
Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches, backache, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, cough, and rash. All people with monkeypox develop a rash, but not all people with monkeypox 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 monkeypox rash may appear similar to other rashes, blisters, or acne. Any person with a new rash or symptoms consistent with monkeypox should be evaluated by a healthcare provider.
Monkeypox symptoms begin within 3 weeks of exposure. Monkeypox 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.
Monkeypox is spread through direct physical contact with an ill person, or direct contact with items touched by an ill person. The current outbreak of monkeypox consists primarily of men who have sex with men.
To avoid spreading monkeypox, a person with monkeypox should isolate at home, avoid contact with others, and avoid sharing items that may be contaminated with the monkeypox virus. Disinfect surfaces that may be touched by other people. If a person with monkeypox must be around others, wear a well-fitting mask.
Although a specific treatment for monkeypox 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 monkeypox infection can be vaccinated. Risk factors for contracting monkeypox include having contact with a person already infected with monkeypox; 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 monkeypox, such as laboratory workers or certain healthcare workers. Monkeypox 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 monkeypox illness, avoid direct physical contact with a person who has a rash or has tested positive for monkeypox. Do not touch or share objects with a person who has monkeypox. Wash hands frequently with soap and water, including after using the bathroom and before eating.
The current outbreak of Monkeypox 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 monkeypox 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 monkeypox 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.