What you need to know

Monkeypox is a virus that causes a disease with the same name. Its incubation period is between five and
21 days. Monkeypox is often self-limiting, meaning symptoms usually go away within 2–4 weeks without

Symptoms can be mild to severe. They include:
• rash with blisters on face, hands, feet, eyes, mouth and/or genitals (a genital and perianal rash has
been reported most commonly in the current outbreak);
• fever;
• swollen lymph nodes;
• headaches;
• muscle aches; and
• low energy
Young children, pregnant women and immunosuppressed persons are at higher risk of developing severe disease from monkeypox.

Monkeypox doesn’t spread easily between people, but you can catch the disease through close physical
contact with someone who is showing symptoms. It can be spread through:
• body fluids (pus or blood) from skin lesions or scabs;
• respiratory droplets (saliva or secretions) during prolonged and close face-to-face contact;
• bedding, towels, clothes or other belongings used by someone with symptoms; and
• sex contact or intercourse (skin-to-skin contact, including kissing, touching, and oral and penetrative

Take steps to protect yourself during the current outbreak in Europe by:
• avoiding skin-to-skin or face-to-face contact with anyone who has symptoms;
• practising safe sex; and
• keeping your hands clean, especially before and after contact with a symptomatic person and their

Detection and care
If you develop a rash accompanied by fever or feelings of discomfort or illness, talk to your health-care provider and get tested for monkeypox.

If you’re confirmed as having monkeypox, you should isolate until the scabs have fallen off, avoid skin-to-skin contact and abstain from sex.

During this period, you can get treatment to ease monkeypox symptoms. Anyone caring for you should take appropriate protective measures (such as practising hand hygiene, wearing personal protective equipment, and managing laundry and waste safely).

Last updated: 20-11-2023