Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the virus MPV. It was first discovered in 1958, and can infect both animals and humans. Until recently, most people with MPV lived in or traveled from central or western Africa. But the disease is now spreading around the world, including the Chicago area.
Tell me more about MPV...
- The most common symptom of MPV is a rash or unusual sores that look like pimples or blisters on the genital area, anus, face, inside of the mouth, hands, feet, chest, or body. They can be mild or very painful. (CDC: Examples of what the rash/sores may look like.)
- Before or at the time the rash appears, people may also have a fever, chills, head or muscle aches, exhaustion and/or swollen lymph nodes.
- Symptoms can last from two to four weeks.
- Symptoms usually start several days to two weeks after exposure, but it’s also possible that symptoms won’t appear for up to 21 days.
- MPV is very rarely fatal.
- MPV is most commonly spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with someone with MPV, through activities like sex, kissing, massage, or cuddling. MPV does not spread as easily as COVID-19.
- It can also spread by touching objects (such as toothbrushes, forks, spoons or sex toys) or fabrics (such as clothes, sheets or towels) that have been used by someone with MPV.
- If someone has MPV sores inside their mouth, they can also spread the virus to another person through respiratory droplets if they have prolonged, close contact.
- A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through their placenta.
- It is believed that MPV spreads from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed – typically about two to four weeks later.
- While the vast majority of cases have been found among men who have sex with men, MPV can affect anyone regardless of sexual preference, and cases have been found in women and children, too.
- Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like MPV.
- Avoid touching the rash or scabs of someone with MPV.
- Avoid kissing, hugging, cuddling, or having sex with someone with MPV.
- Avoid sharing food, drinks, or eating utensils with someone with MPV.
- Use caution when touching the bedding, towels, or clothing of someone with MPV.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- If you are taking care of a person with MPV, wear a mask. They should also wear a mask if they can, and cover their lesions or rash around others.
- Limiting your number of sex partners may reduce the possibility of exposure.
- If your partner is not feeling well or has visible sores or rash, avoid close skin-to-skin contact including sex.
- Read more about how to have safer sex during the current MPV outbreak.
- Contact your healthcare provider.
- Do not have sex or other close, physical contact with anyone.
- Do not share things like bedding, clothes, towels, or utensils with anyone.
- Wash your hands and shared surfaces often.
If you are a current Erie patient, call Erie at 312.666.3494 for an appointment to discuss your symptoms with your provider.
Erie has a limited supply of MPV vaccine (called Jynneos), and at this point we are only able to offer it to a limited group of Erie patients, whom we are contacting directly. But a list of healthcare providers who have received doses of the vaccine can be found on the Chicago Department of Public Health website. Note: the supply of MPV vaccine is limited at this time, and these locations may not have appointments available. Check back often, as this list is growing! Keep an eye out for community events that may offer vaccination as well.
At this time, to be eligible for MPV vaccination you must:
- be a close contact of someone with MPV
- be a sexually active gay, bisexual or other (cis or trans) man who has sex with men and/or transgender, gender non-conforming, or gender non-binary – especially those that have intimate or sexual contact with multiple or anonymous partners
Erie will update this information if we get a larger supply of MPV vaccine or when the eligibility guidelines change.