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Hot Topic: Mpox

Information For the Public

What is mpox?

Mpox is a disease caused by a virus not commonly seen in the United States. However, there is an ongoing, global outbreak and mpox cases have been found in the United States, including in Nevada.

Mpox virus is related to the virus that causes smallpox, but mpox is less severe than smallpox and is rarely fatal. Mpox often causes a painful or itchy rash and sometimes causes flu-like symptoms like fever, headache, muscle aches, or other symptoms. Mpox virus is not related to chickenpox.

Anyone can get mpox. Many of the cases reported during the current outbreak have been among gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men. Following the recommended prevention steps can help protect you and your community.

Number of mpox cases in Nevada, U.S. and globally

Mpox case data are summarized in the dashboard link below. Links to the local health authority mpox websites are also included, along with the links to the CDC national and global data.

Symptoms of mpox

Mpox often causes a characteristic rash. The rash can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth, on the hands, feet, chest, genitals, anus, or other parts of the body. The rash goes through different stages before healing completely.

Below are a few examples of mpox rash in different stages:

Sometimes mpox causes other symptoms. Mpox can also cause other symptoms, like fever, headache, muscle aches, back ache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion. Sometimes people get a rash first followed by other symptoms and sometimes people have flu-like symptoms a few days before the rash appears. Others only experience a rash without other symptoms. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.

A person with mpox is contagious while they have symptoms. Mpox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, which is when all scabs have fallen off and a new layer of skin has formed.

Visit the CDC website for more information regarding signs and symptoms of mpox.

How mpox spreads

Mpox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:

  • Direct contact with mpox rash and scabs from a person with mpox, as well as contact with their saliva, upper respiratory secretions (snot, mucus), and areas around the anus, rectum, or vagina This direct contact can happen during intimate contact including hugging, massaging, kissing, and prolonged face-to-face contact.

The risk is considered low for getting mpox by touching objects, fabrics, and surfaces that have been used by someone with mpox that have not disinfected, such as clothing, bedding, towels, fetish gear, or sex toys. For more information on how mpox spreads, click here.

Currently, the mpox virus is spreading primarily through sexual contact; however, infections have occurred through other exposures, including non-sexual contact with infectious lesions and from contaminated instruments in clinic settings.

Mpox virus can be spread to the fetus during pregnancy or to the newborn by close contact during and after birth. For more information, click here.

Anyone in close personal contact with a person or animal with mpox can become infected and should take steps to protect themselves.

Steps to prevent the spread of mpox

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend these five steps to help you protect yourself from getting mpox:

  1. Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like mpox.
  2. Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with mpox has used.
  3. Wash your hands often.
  4. Get vaccinated.
  5. If you are in or visit Central or West Africa, avoid contact with animals that can spread mpox virus, usually rodents and primates.

Additional Prevention Resources

If you have been diagnosed with (or think you might have) mpox

Contact a healthcare provider or your local health department if you do not have a health care provider.

Take care of yourself and others.

If you think you have been exposed to mpox but do not have symptoms, it is still important to contact your health care provider or local health authority (see the information listed above). You might be eligible for vaccines or treatment to help reduce your chances of getting sick.


Mpox is caused by a virus that is related to the virus that causes smallpox. JYNNEOS is a 2-dose vaccine developed to protect against mpox and smallpox infections. People need to get both doses of the vaccine for the best protection against mpox. The second dose should be given 4 weeks after the first dose. To find an mpox vaccine site near you, click here. For a list of local health departments and community health nurse clinics in Nevada who may offer the vaccine, click here.

Get Healthy and Ready for Summer 2023

The warmer months are full of events that celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.  Preparing for this season is a great opportunity to make sure that you stay healthy before, during, and after these celebrations. 

  • Despite recent cases where vaccinated people had a mpox outbreak, vaccination is still our best tool in the fight against mpox. It is important to note that those who did have a breakthrough mpox outbreak after vaccination, all had mild signs and symptoms and none needed to be hospitalized. 
  • To find an mpox vaccine site near you, click here.