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Mpox (formerly called Monkeypox)

Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County

What is Mpox (formerly called Monkeypox)? 

Mpox is a rare disease caused by a virus that occurs mostly in central and western Africa. However, mpox infections also occur in other parts of the world. The mpox virus can be transmitted from animals to humans. These animals include different African rodents and monkeys. Once a person becomes infected with the mpox virus they can pass it to other people. Mpox is not a very contagious disease, and the risk of contracting mpox is generally low. Recently there has been an increase in human mpox infections in different parts of the world, including the U.S.


Mpox typically begins with flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, chills, headache, tiredness, muscle aches) and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a rash on the face and body. Duration of illness is usually 2 to 4 weeks.


Human-to-human transmission or spread generally requires prolonged, face-to-face contact, direct contact with an active rash, or indirect contact with an active rash through contaminated items, such as contaminated clothing. Therefore, the risk of exposure remains low.

Transmission can occur through:

  • Direct contact with an infected person or animal.
  • Direct contact with infected materials, such as an infected person’s clothing or hospital bedding.
  • Breathing in or other exposure to large respiratory droplets during extended contact (3 hours or more) with an infected person without appropriate respiratory protection, such as a mask.
  • It is not known whether sexual transmission occurs. It can take between 5 and 21 days to show symptoms of monkeypox after infection.

Prevention and Treatment 

The risk of mpox to the general public is usually low. Vaccines used for smallpox have been shown to be effective in preventing mpox. For people who become infected, are exposed to people diagnosed with mpox, or have a job that puts them at risk for mpox, they should contact their health care provider. If you become infected, avoid contact with people and pets - stay isolated from others and animals as much as possible.

Recommendations for the prevention and treatment mpox include the following:

  • Vaccination is recommended if started within 14 days of exposure to a person infected with monkeypox.
  • Vaccination is recommended for people with certain job-related risks such as public health laboratory staff.
  • Antiviral medications that were developed for use in patients with smallpox may be beneficial for people with confirmed monkeypox infection.

Information for Health Care Providers 

For health care providers and household contacts of people with mpox, preventive vaccines are available through your county health department.

If health care providers suspect a possible case of mpox, immediately contact your county health department or the 24/7 disease reporting hotline at 850-245-4401.

Health care providers should remain vigilant of information related to mpox:

* The cases of mpox described in the current outbreak have some atypical features. These features of the newest mpox cases can easily be confused with sexually transmitted infections (STI). It is important to comprehensively evaluate patients presenting with genital or perianal ulcers for STIs. However, co-infections with mpox and STIs have been reported and the presence of an STI does not rule out mpox. Patients with a new characteristic rash or who meet one or more of the epidemiologic criteria and in which there is a high suspicion should be tested for mpox.