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    Human​ Mpox

    MDH is updating web pages with the term “mpox” to reduce stigma and other issues associated with prior terminology. This change is aligned with the recent World Health Organization decision and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is working with partners to monitor the global human mpox outbreak and provide information to residents. Check this page for updates and follow us at http://www.twitter.com/MDHealthDept and https://www.facebook.com/MDHealthDept.​

    Find Mpox Vaccine​ Information: Please note that due to the increased availability and eligibility of the Jynneos mpox vaccine, the Maryland Department of Health’s pre-registration system will no longer be active as of January 20, 2023. 

     ​​​Maryland Mpox Summary​


    Human mpox is a rare but serious illness caused by infection with the mpox virus. It can infect humans and other animals, such as monkeys and rodents. Most people who get mpox recover without any serious complications or the need for medical treatment. 

    People living with a condition that weakens the immune system, such as advanced or untreated HIV, AIDS, certain cancers, an organ transplant, or another immune deficiency disorder, may be more likely to have serious complications or need treatment. Getting vaccinated can protect against getting mpox, or can reduce the severity of illness if you do get mpox. 

    Historically, most human cases of mpox have been identified in Central and West Africa. Rarely, human mpox cases have been identified outside of Central or West Africa, though many cases reported links to those regions, either through travel or exposure to humans or animals that had been infected in those areas. 

    In May 2022, several clusters of human mpox cases were reported in countries that don't normally report human mpox, including the United States. It's not clear how the people were exposed to mpox, but early data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases. However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has mpox is at risk, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

    On June 16, 2022, MDH reported a presumed human mpox virus infection in a Maryland resident. Please refer to the CDC website for current national case counts.

    Signs and Symptoms

    Symptoms of mpox can include:
    • ​Fever
    • Headache
    • Muscle aches and backache
    • 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.
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Chills
    • Exhaustion
    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.


    Mpox spreads in different ways. The virus can spread from person to person through:

    • ​Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
    • During sex because mpox can be sexually transmissible
    • During other intimate physical contact, such as kissing, or cuddling
    • Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
    • Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta

    It’s possible that mpox might be transmitted by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact. It’s also possible for people to get mpox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

    Mpox 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. At this time, scientists are trying to understand:

    • If a person who doesn’t have mpox symptoms can spread the virus
    • How often mpox is spread through respiratory secretions, and at what stage of infection a person with mpox might be more likely to spread the virus through respiratory secretions
    • Whether mpox can be spread through semen, vaginal fluid, urine, or feces
    Mpox hasn’t been shown to spread from person to person through casual contact, like being in the same area, having casual conversation, or briefly touching shared items like doorknobs. Sharing items such as gym equipment or chairs is unlikely to expose people to mpox.


    Prevention Measures​

    Take the following steps to prevent getting mpox:​
    • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like mpox.
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with mpox.
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with mpox.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with mpox.
    • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with mpox.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • In Central and West Africa, avoid contact with animals that can spread mpox virus, usually rodents and primates. Also, avoid sick or dead animals, as well as bedding or other materials they have touched.
    If you are sick with mpox, follow CDC guidance on how to isolate​ and disinfect at home to avoid exposing others.​


    ​The JYNNEOS vaccine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for protection against the mpox virus in people who have been exposed to mpox and people who are more likely to get mpox. Vaccination is currently not recommended for the general public for the prevention of mpox. 

    As of September 19, 2022, MDH expanded eligibility for the mpox vaccine. Previously recommended only for people who had been potentially exposed to mpox in the prior two weeks, currently anyone at high risk of mpox infection can get vaccinated. You can find mpox vaccine information here

    If you have symptoms of mpox, you should contact your healthcare provider, even if you think you have not had contact with someone with mpox. If you don’t have a healthcare provider or health insurance, visit the MDH website to find a health department near you.    ​​

    Testing and Treatment

    At this time, the risk to the general public appears to be low.  Individuals who believe they were exposed to mpox or have an illness that could be mpox should contact their healthcare provider.  People without a provider or insurance should visit health.maryland.gov/CSTIP/loca​l to find contact information for their local health department.

    There are no treatments specifically for mpox virus infection. Most people with mpox recover fully within 2 to 4 weeks without the need for medical treatment. Supportive care and pain control may be enough. However, antiviral drugs developed to protect against smallpox may be used to treat or prevent human mpox. Tecovirimat (TPOXX) may be recommended for patients at risk of severe illness from mpox virus infection, such as those with a weakened immune system. 

    Mpox Resources


    Information for Providers
    MDH Resources
    MDH Launches Pre-Registration System for Monkeypox Vaccine (September 1, 2022)​
    Presumed Human Monkeypox Virus Infection Identified in Maryland Resident (June 16, 2022)

    Fact Sheets and FAQs

    What to Know About MPX in Non-Healthcare Community Settings (September 12, 2022)​

    Outreach Toolkit​

    Other MDH Websites​
    MDH Home​

    Other Resources​