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Monkeypox

Last updated:  June 27, 2022

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a virus that is spread by close and prolonged contact with a person or animal that has monkeypox, or with contaminated materials (e.g. clothing, bedding). Monkeypox is similar to smallpox, but is less contagious and typically has less severe symptoms. Currently, there is no specific treatment plan for monkeypox. However, treatments are used to manage symptoms. Treatment is generally supportive and mild infections typically self-resolve within 2-4 weeks.

Common Symptoms

Monkeypox symptoms typically appear within five days of exposure, but can take up to 21 days to show up. Symptoms include:

  • A rash or blisters (lesions)*
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever and chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Exhaustion

*Lesions typically will appear inside the mouth, on the face, on the palms of the hands, on the soles of the feet, and/or around the genitals or anus. Photos of examples of lesions can be found here. Please be advised this content is graphic.

More severe symptoms are possible but are less common. There is an increased risk for more severe symptoms among newborns, pregnant woman, children under 12, and individuals who are immunocompromised.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

What should I do if I have a confirmed case of monkeypox?

  • Follow the guidance provided upon diagnosis
  • Self-isolate until lesions clear up (usually 2-4 weeks)
  • Cover lesions with a bandage if in contact with others
  • Wear a mask if in close contact with others
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and materials

What should I do if I am a close contact to a confirmed or suspected case of monkeypox?

Peterborough Public Health will notify known close contacts of a confirmed or suspected case of monkeypox. If you think you might be a close contact, call Peterborough Public Health to report your status.

If you are a close contact and do not have symptoms:

  • Monitor for symptoms for 21 days
  • Limit contact with others
  • Wear a mask
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and materials
  • Check eligibility for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)

if you are a close contact and have symptoms, self-isolate immediately and call your primary care provider, Peterborough Public Health, or Health Connect Ontario.

Click here for more guidance for what to do if you have symptoms, are a close contact, have pets, or are taking care of someone with Monkeypox.

Is there a vaccine?

The smallpox vaccine (Imvamune) may prevent infection or prevent the development of severe symptoms. Imvamune is currently available as a post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for known close contacts of a confirmed case of monkeypox. Individuals belonging to the gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) community may be eligible to receive Imvamune before exposure to monkeypox as a pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

To learn more about the vaccine, eligibility, and vaccine clinic locations in Ontario. Please visit Toronto Public Health webpage

How can I reduce the risk of getting monkeypox?

  • Practice good hand hygiene
  • Reduce or limit the number of people you have close contact with
  • Use barriers such as gloves, masks, condoms, and dental dams
  • Avoid sharing objects such as toothbrushes, eating utensils, sex toys, and drug use supplies
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and materials
  • Avoid touching bedding and laundry that has been in contact with someone who has monkeypox
  • Avoid touching skin lesions or rashes on another person
  • Stay home if you are sick and encourage others to do the same

For more information please visit: