Monkeypox is a contagious disease caused by the monkeypox virus, also known as orthopoxvirus. There is currently an outbreak of monkeypox in the United States and other countries where the virus is not usually seen.
Anyone can get and spread monkeypox. The current cases are primarily spreading among social networks of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, so this community is currently at greater risk of exposure.
The monkeypox virus is most often spread through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus. It can also spread through contact with clothing, bedding, and other items used by a person with monkeypox, or from respiratory droplets that can be passed through prolonged face-to-face contact. At this time, it is not known if monkeypox can spread through semen or vaginal fluids.
There is no specific treatment approved for monkeypox. Most people get better on their own without treatment. However, antivirals developed for use in patients with smallpox may prove beneficial.
If you have a new or unexpected rash or other symptoms of monkeypox, contact a health care provider. A provider will check your symptoms and may order testing. If you do not have a health care provider, visit the Find a Doctor page.
Learn more about monkeypox.
- Agency: Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
- Division: Monkeypox and COVID-19 Hotline
- Phone Number: (855) 491-2667
- Business Hours: Daily: 9 AM - 9 PM