A colorized scanning electron micrograph shows the monkeypox virus (orange) on the surface of infected cells (green). This Image was captured at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick in Maryland. (Photo courtesy of NIAID)
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a contagious disease caused by the same family of viruses—orthopoxvirus—that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are like those of smallpox, but milder and rarely fatal.
How is monkeypox transmitted?
Human-to-human transmission occurs primarily through direct contact with infected lesions or fluids, or by contact with contaminated materials like clothing or bedding. It also can be spread by respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact. For further information, please see the CDC webpage on monitoring for the virus.
What can I do to protect myself from getting monkeypox?
These are the most effective means of prevention against contracting monkeypox:
- Avoid contact with people who may be infected.
- Avoid contact with bedding and other materials contaminated with the virus.
- Avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone with a rash.
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for infected persons.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Practice safer sex.
For information on safer sex and social gatherings, please see the CDC webpage on monkeypox and sexual health.
What is the virus incubation period?
Monkeypox has an average incubation period of 6 to 13 days where the person does not have symptoms. A person is not contagious during this period.
What is the University of Pittsburgh doing in response to monkeypox?
The University of Pittsburgh and leading experts at UPMC are working in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to monitor monkeypox cases locally and the potential impact on the region.
I think I have monkeypox, can I get tested at Health Services?
Not at this time. Please call the Pennsylvania Department of Health - Cambria County State Health Center at (814) 248-3120 for information on available testing.
What is the treatment for monkeypox?
Most patients have mild illness and require no treatment.
Currently, there is no treatment specifically approved for monkeypox virus infections.
TPOXX® (tecovirimat) is still listed as an investigational drug and is therefore controlled by and distributed directly from the CDC to health departments. It is currently reserved for patients with severe symptoms.
Why did the White House declare monkeypox a public health emergency?
This declaration facilitates access to emergency funds, allows health agencies to collect data about cases and vaccinations, accelerates vaccine distribution, and makes it easier to prescribe treatment.
Students with medical questions should call Health Services (814-269-7110).