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Mpox: What You Need to Know

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IDSA will update our site moving forward with the term "mpox" to reduce stigma and other issues associated with prior terminology. This change is aligned with the Nov. 28, 2022, World Health Organization decision. Some webpages and materials created prior to this date may still reflect the old name.

Mpox is a rare disease caused by infection with a virus. Despite being originally named “monkeypox,” the source of the disease remains unknown.

Human-to-human transmission occurs primarily through direct contact with infected lesions or fluids or contact with contaminated materials like clothing or bedding. It also can be spread by respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact. Mpox has an average incubation period of 6 to 13 days, with a range of 5 to 21 days.   

Although a majority of cases in the current phase of the 2022 mpox outbreak have occurred among gay and bisexual men, anyone can be affected regardless of sexual orientation. While evidence to date in the current outbreak has not identified a new mechanism of infection unique to sexual transmission, mpox can be transmitted through prolonged physical contact, including intimate sexual contact. The latest case data by state and by age, gender, race/ethnicity and symptoms are available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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