How is monkeypox spread?

The monkeypox virus is most often spread through direct contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus. It can also spread through contact with clothing, bedding and other items used by a person with monkeypox, or from respiratory droplets that can be passed through prolonged face-to-face contact. 

Transmission can happen during sex or other intimate activities, such as: 

  • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex; 
  • Hugging, kissing, cuddling and massage; 
  • Contact with bedding or other items that have the virus on them during or after intimate activity. 

People are unlikely to get the virus by trying on clothing in a store or touching nonporous items like door handles and counters. Additionally, some activities that people learned to limit during Covid-19 surges are probably not as risky for monkeypox transmission. For example, sitting on a subway, bus or other public transportation or going to an office or school are unlikely to put people at risk of a monkeypox exposure. 

Show All Answers

1. What is monkeypox?
2. How is monkeypox spread?
3. Who can get monkeypox?
4. What should I do if I have a new or unexplained rash (or other symptoms)?
5. Can I get tested for monkeypox?
6. Can I get vaccinated against monkeypox?
7. Can I get the vaccine if I was exposed to monkeypox more than 14 days ago?
8. Can I get a vaccine to prevent monkeypox even if I have not been exposed, like if I plan to travel to an area that has monkeypox?
9. What can I do to protect myself?
10. How severe can monkeypox be?
11. Is monkeypox going to be another pandemic like COVID-19?
12. How can I learn more about monkeypox?