The University of Maine System (UMS) continues to monitor the ongoing monkeypox (Mpox) outbreak. Our guidance will continue to be informed by science and recommendations from public health best practices, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other federal and state guidance.
What is Monkeypox (Mpox)?
Monkeypox (Mpox) is a rare disease caused by infection with the Mpox virus. The Mpox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox.
What are the symptoms of Mpox?
Symptoms of Mpox can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
- A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
- The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.
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.
Mpox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. Anyone in close personal contact with a person with Mpox can get it and should take steps to protect themselves.
How can Mpox be prevented?
- 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.
Are vaccines available to prevent Mpox?
Because Mpox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, vaccines developed to protect against smallpox viruses may be used to prevent Mpox infections.
The U.S. government has two stockpiled vaccines—JYNNEOS and ACAM2000—that can prevent Mpox in people who are exposed to the virus.
Who should get a vaccine?
CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to Mpox and people who may be more likely to get Mpox, including:
- People who have been identified by public health officials as a contact of someone with Mpox
- People who know one of their sexual partners in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with Mpox
- People who had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks in an area with known Mpox cases
Individuals should consult with their healthcare provider or local health department to learn more about their eligibility for a vaccine.
What treatment options are available for those with Mpox?
There are no treatments specifically for Mpox virus infections. However, because of genetic similarities in the viruses, antiviral drugs used to treat smallpox may be used to treat Mpox infections.