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Monkeypox Symptoms, Treatment, and Vaccine

Monkeypox is a rare disease that can make you sick, including a rash, which may look like pimples or blisters, often with an earlier flu-like illness. Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact. Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk, but early data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases.

Monkeypox Symptoms

According to the CDC:

People with monkeypox get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals or anus and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.

  • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
  • The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

Other symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Headache
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)

You may experience all or only a few symptoms.

  • Sometimes, people have flu-like symptoms before the rash.
  • Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms.
  • Others only experience a rash.

If You Have a New or Unexplained Rash or Other Symptoms

Talk to your healthcare provider. When you see your healthcare provider, wear a mask, and remind them that this virus is circulating.

Monkeypox Vaccination

When administered before or soon after exposure, the JYNNEOS vaccine can help protect against monkeypox illness. The supply of vaccine is very limited. It is solely available in the United States from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, through allocations to state health departments.

There are currently two sites in western MA where monkeypox vaccine is available to individuals who meet the following eligibility criteria, prioritizing those who are most at risk of exposure to monkeypox.

Vaccine Eligibility

People are eligible for the monkey pox vaccine if they have:

  • Known contacts identified by public health investigation and contact tracing (including sexual partners and household contacts) OR
  • Presumed contacts who either 1) know that a sexual partner was diagnosed with monkeypox in the past 14 days OR 2) have had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in an area with known monkeypox

Eligible individuals can access the vaccine at the following sites:

Baystate Brightwood Health Center

Call 413 -794-4458 (Mon–Fri, 8 am–5 pm)

Tapestry Health, Springfield

Call 413-586-2016, ext. 121 (Mon Fri, 8 am-5 pm).

Visit the MA Department of Health website on monkeypox vaccine for continuously updated information about vaccine sites throughout the state.

Monkeypox Treatment

Most people with monkeypox virus infection recover fully within 2 to 4 weeks without the need for medical treatment.

Antiviral medicines, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to become severely ill with monkeypox infection, such as patients with weakened immune systems.

Learn more about vaccination, prevention, case counts, and more for our local area at Mass.Gov.