We explain what Monkeypox is, how it spreads and how to prevent it.

What it is

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox (MPX) virus. The monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox and cowpox. Monkeypox symptoms often include a rash that can look like pimples or blisters.


  • You may have a rash or sores, or may have only one sore, bump, or blister
  • This may look different from pictures you see online. A rash or sores can occur anywhere on the body. 

View monkeypox rash images from the CDC

Additional symptoms

  • Fever or chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headache
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Body aches (including muscle and back)
  • Sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough

More information


You can only be tested for monkeypox (MPX) if you have a rash. A sample of your rash will be collected with a swab.

Avoid touching your rash. Touching your rash can spread it to other parts of your body.

We encourage you to contact your health care provider if you:

  • Develop a rash (bumps, sores, or blisters)
  • Think that you might have monkeypox
  • Think you were exposed to monkeypox

Testing locations

See a list of testing locations

Insurance concerns

If you don’t have health insurance or a health care provider, contact the Red Door Clinic.


There are two vaccines available in the U.S. to prevent monkeypox, but there is very little supply in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Department of Health is working with local public health departments and health care providers to vaccinate their patients at highest risk for monkeypox.

Read about monkeypox vaccines in Minnesota


There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox infections. 

Health care providers may:

  • Recommend an antiviral medication (TPOXX) to help people who are more likely to get very ill
  • Offer ways to relieve pain or itchiness

If you think you may have been exposed to monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider to see if you are eligible for a vaccine to prevent or reduce monkeypox. 

Most people get better without needing medical treatment.

How monkeypox spreads

Monkeypox (MPX):

  • Mostly spreads through skin-to-skin contact including:
    • Sex
    • Hugging, kissing and cuddling 
  • Can be spread as soon as symptoms start. It can spread until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take several weeks.  
  • Is not a sexually transmitted disease
  • Can be spread to all people, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation
  • Has an increased risk for spreading at a rave, party, or club where there is minimal clothing and where there is direct, personal, skin-to-skin contact
  • Is possible to be spread, although it is less likely, by items that have been in contact with a monkeypox rash such as:
    • Unwashed linens or clothing
    • Other surfaces 

More information

Minnesota Department of Health (MDH)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Reduce your risk

Monkeypox can be spread to all people. We list the ways to reduce your risk of getting monkeypox.

When around someone with monkeypox

  • Do not touch their rash or scabs
  • Avoid kissing or having sex with them
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with them
  • Do not handle or touch their bedding, towels, or clothing 
  • Use gloves and a mask when doing laundry and disinfecting their spaces


  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox
  • While a friend or loved one has monkeypox, find non-contact ways to show your support, like air high-fives, or virtual dates
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • When cleaning and doing laundry, use disinfectant and laundry detergent to kill the virus 
  • Avoid having sex with a person who may have monkeypox


Find resources and information by visiting: 


Public health emergency

The U.S. has declared the monkeypox (MPX) outbreak a public health emergency.

  • This will let the federal government put money toward developing vaccines, providing emergency funding, and hiring more workers.

Scientists are learning

  • If the virus can be spread when someone doesn’t have symptoms
  • How often it is spread through respiratory secretions, like coughing
  • If it can be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or feces
A vial of blood labeled monkeypox with a stethoscope and hands on a keyboard in the background.



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Health Department




Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave. S., Room 320
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Health Department




Public Service Building
505 Fourth Ave S, Room 520
Minneapolis, MN 55415

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