What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus (MPV). Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.


  • Rash that looks like pimples or blisters
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle Aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)

Frequently Asked Questions

How does monkeypox spread?

The monkeypox virus can spread from person-to-person through direct contact with the rash, scabs, or body fluids of an individual with MPV. It can also be spread during intimate contact, including hugging, kissing, or prolonged face-to-face contact with an ill individual. Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.

How can I prevent monkeypox?

There are things you can do to protect yourself from getting monkeypox:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  • 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.

More information on protecting yourself and others can be found here.

What should I do if I think I have monkeypox?

If you notice a new or unexplained rash or other monkeypox symptoms, avoid close contact (including intimate physical contact) with others and contact the Student Health Services clinic (470) 578-6644 or another medical provider to schedule an appointment to be tested. Please call your provider before entering the facility and notify them that you suspect you have monkeypox.

Who can get tested for monkeypox?

An individual who has a rash, bumps, or sores consistent with monkeypox can be tested. If you think you have monkeypox, stay home and call the Student Health Services clinic (470) 578-6644 or another medical provider before visiting their office and let them know you have signs and symptoms of monkeypox.

Who can get vaccinated for monkeypox?

Vaccines are available in local health departments throughout the state of Georgia; however, vaccine supplies from the federal government remain limited, and vaccines are allocated for high-risk individuals. Currently, the CDC is not encouraging mass vaccination for the general public. To learn more about CDC vaccination strategies for MPV, click here.

Complete the DPH Vaccine Eligibility Assessment if you think you may be eligible to receive the vaccine.

If you have had close skin-to-skin contact with a confirmed case of monkeypox, call your local health department to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Is monkeypox a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)?

Monkeypox can more accurately be described as "sexually transmissible." In other words, sex is just one of the ways that monkeypox can be spread. In the current monkeypox outbreak, the virus is spreading primarily through close personal contact. This may include contact with infectious lesions or respiratory secretion via close, sustained skin-to-skin contact. The contact does not have to be exclusively intimate or sexual.

What is the risk of contracting monkeypox?

The risk of contracting monkeypox (MVP) is based on exposure—an individual must be exposed to enough virus to become infected.

Most settings where people congregate such as workplaces, schools, grocery stores, gas stations, or public transportation are not considered high-risk settings for monkeypox transmission. It is important to remember that monkeypox is not transmitted like COVID and typically takes skin-to-skin or other close contact to transmit. Unlike COVID or measles, this means far lower risk to persons that may be in a room with someone with monkeypox, but do not have contact with the infected individual.

You can find more information about the risk factors for monkeypox on the CDC website.

Updated August 30, 2022