Monkeypox Frequently Asked Questions

ACCESS is here to provide monkeypox (mpox) testing and answer your questions so you know how to protect yourself. 

What is mpox?

Mpox is a viral disease, related to smallpox but milder, caused by the mpox virus. Although the virus was first found in monkeys, mpox can be found in humans and in other animals as well. Mpox has been causing illness among people for more than 50 years, primarily in countries in west and central Africa.

What are the symptoms of mpox?

  • Rash or sores that look like pimples or blisters:
    • The rash may appear on one part of the body or across the body, including on the face, inside the mouth, in the genital and anal regions, chest, hands, and feet.
    • The rash or sores can be mild, but also can be extremely painful and itchy, and may interfere with normal activities.
    • The rash can last two to four weeks and go through different stages before healing.
  • Fever, chills, head, or muscle aches or swelling of lymph nodes have also been reported as symptoms of mpox.

How does mpox spread?

Mpox can spread from person to person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.

Is mpox an STI?

No. Sexual contact is just one way that mpox can be spread, but it is not the only way. In the past, mpox outbreaks have been linked to direct exposure to infected animals and animal products, with limited person-to-person spread.

When do symptoms of mpox appear?

Symptoms generally appear one to two weeks after exposure, but the range can be anywhere from five to 21 days. 

How long is mpox contagious?

Mpox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed, which usually takes two to four weeks. Anyone in close personal contact with a person with mpox can get it and should take steps to protect themselves.

How can I prevent mpox?

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like mpox.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with mpox has used.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.

How can I get tested for mpox?

All ACCESS locations offer testing for monkeypox. If you suspect you are infected with mpox, please call your health center to schedule an appointment with your provider.

What do I do if I have mpox?

To prevent the spreading of mpox, stay at home and isolate from others in your home until your mpox rash has healed and a new layer of skin has formed.

  • Avoid close contact with others.
  • Avoid close contact with pets in your home or any other animals.
  • Do not engage in sexual activity that involves direct physical contact.
  • Do not share potentially contaminated items, such as bed linens, clothing, towels, washcloths, drinking glasses or eating utensils.
  • Routinely clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and items, such as bathrooms, kitchens, counters and light switches, using an EPA-registered disinfectant.
  • Mpox can be spread by respiratory droplets. Wear a well-fitting mask when in close contact with others at home.
  • Avoid use of contact lenses to prevent infection of the eye.
  • Avoid shaving rash-covered areas of the body as this can lead to spread of the virus.

If you do have a confirmed case of mpox, here is a helpful guide from the CDC to help relieve your rash and manage any other symptoms.

Do I need to stay away from my pet?

Mpox can also spread to animals, so staying away from pets, livestock and other animals is important.

Should I get vaccinated?

Currently, the CDC is not recommending mass vaccination against mpox, but is recommending high-risk groups to get vaccinated.

You may be prioritized for a vaccine if you fall into one of the below categories:

  • Anyone who has had close contact (Ex: any household members with close physical contact or intimate partners) with someone diagnosed with mpox regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation.
  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and/or transgender persons who are sexually active.

Does ACCESS offer the mpox vaccine?

To support our patients and communities during the mpox public health emergency, ACCESS is providing the JYNNEOS vaccine to eligible patients on select days at the following ACCESS health centers:

  • ACCESS Madison: Every Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • ACCESS Grand Boulevard: Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • ACCESS Blue Island: Every Thursday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • ACCESS Rogers Park: Every Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • ACCESS Martin T. Russo: Every Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

For a list of community sites offering the mpox vaccine, please visit the below resources.

  • City of Chicago
  • Cook County
  • DuPage County: Eligible individuals can schedule a vaccination appointment with DuPage County Health Department by calling 630.682.7400.


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As of November 25, 2023