If You’re a Close Contact

If you have been informed that you are a close contact of a person with mpox, it’s important to take steps to protect your health and the health of others.

Take These Steps

Watch for symptoms of mpox for 21 days from the date of your last exposure.
People with mpox can get a rash on any part of the body, like the genitals, anus (butthole), hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. Sometimes people have flu-like symptoms before the rash. Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.

Other symptoms of mpox can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Headache
  • Respiratory symptoms (for example, sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)

People may experience all or only a few symptoms.

Get vaccinated.
  • Close contacts of someone who has monkeypox can get vaccinated to prevent or lessen the severity of disease.
  • Getting vaccinated as soon as possible after exposure to someone with mpox (if exposed less than 14 days ago, ideally within 4 days of exposure) provides the best chance to prevent the disease or make it less severe.
  • Learn more about mpox vaccination, including who should get vaccinated, where to get vaccinated, cost, and more.
  • If you need help deciding whether you should get vaccinated, talk to a healthcare provider or contact your local health department. They can help you determine if you should get vaccinated.
If you have a new or unexplained rash or other mpox symptoms, see a healthcare provider.
If you don’t have a provider or health insurance, contact your local health department to find out how to access the healthcare services in your community.
  • Stay away from other people and avoid sharing things you have used or touched until you see a healthcare provider.
  • Before you see a healthcare provider, cover all parts of the rash with clothing, gloves, or bandages, wear a mask, and let them know you may have mpox.
  • Do not touch or scratch the rash. This can spread the rash to other parts of your body, increase the chance of spreading the virus to others, and possibly cause open lesions to become infected by bacteria.

Testing for Mpox

Currently, testing is only recommended if you have a rash consistent with mpox. Your healthcare provider will help you decide if you need to be tested for mpox, and can order a  mpox test. The provider may take a specimen and send it to a lab for testing, or they may send you to a lab for both specimen collection and testing.

  • If your test result is positive, follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations.
  • Wash your hands often and try not to touch your eyes.
  • Stay in a space away from others until your rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.
  • If you must be around other people, you should fully cover all lesions, wear a well-fitting mask and clean and disinfect your living space frequently.
  • You should try to avoid contact with people who may be more likely to get very sick, like children under 1 year old, people who are pregnant, and people who have weakened immune systems or certain skin conditions. You should also avoid contact with pets.

It’s important to notify your close contacts that they may have been exposed to mpox as soon as possible.

Learn more about what to do if you are sick.