Mpox spreads through direct skin-to-skin contact with the infection rash, scabs, or body fluids. It can also be spread through respiratory droplets during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact with areas around the anus, rectum, or vagina.
Any person can contract Mpox, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. To date, the vast majority of the cases have been in men who have sex with men, and the general population is currently at low risk of contracting the infection.
The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been in close contact with people who have Mpox. Eligibility for Mpox vaccination varies locally, but typically includes groups considered to be at high risk, including:
- People who have been in close physical contact with someone with Mpox in the past two weeks
- People whose jobs may expose them to Mpox, including some healthcare or public health workers
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, transgender or nonbinary people who in the past six months have had one or more of the following:
- A new diagnosis of a sexually transmitted disease
- More than one sex partner
- Sex at a commercial sex venue
- Sex in association with a large public event in a geographic area where Mpox transmission is occurring
- Sexual partners of persons with the risks described above
- Persons who anticipate experiencing any of the above
The recommended vaccine to protect against monkeypox is Jynneos. The alternative to Jynneos is the ACAM2000 vaccine, but it is not recommended for people with weakened immune systems and has the potential for more side effects than Jynneos. Contact your local health department and health provider for information about vaccine eligibility, accessibility, and testing.
Updated December 14, 2023