How Contagious is Monkeypox (mpox)?

Monkeypox, or mpox is a highly contagious disease.

How Contagious is Monkeypox (mpox)?
Understanding Monkeypox Contagiousness. Photo by CDC / Unsplash

Monkeypox, or mpox, is a rare viral disease that is similar to human smallpox, but with milder symptoms. It is primarily found in the Central African rainforest region and affects both humans and animals, particularly primates. In 2022, a global outbreak was detected.

The disease is transmitted through direct contact with an infected animal or person and can be spread through respiratory secretions, skin-to-skin contact, and contaminated objects. In this article, we will delve deeper into how contagious mpox is and what measures can be taken to prevent its spread.

How does Monkeypox Spread?

mpox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The virus can be transmitted through close contact with bodily fluids such as saliva and respiratory secretions, as well as through direct contact with infectious rash, sores, and scabs. The risk of exposure is not limited to skin contact, as the virus can also be spread through objects that have been contaminated by someone with mpox, such as clothes, bed sheets, sex toys, and fetish gear.

The virus can also be transmitted through sexual contact, including kissing, cuddling, or touching parts of the body with mpox sores. The virus can cause sores to appear on the mouth, vagina, or anus, which means it can be transmitted through any kind of oral, vaginal, or anal sex by touching the genitals or mouth of a person with mpox who may have sores inside the body.

It is important to note that people who do not have mpox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of the signs and symptoms of mpox to prevent its spread.

Preventing Monkeypox Spread

The following measures can be taken to prevent the spread of mpox:

Avoid skin-to-skin contact

Sharing direct and personal skin-to-skin contact should be avoided, and there is a higher likelihood of contracting mpox at events hosted in enclosed spaces where people can be expected to have minimal to no clothing. Large outdoor events where people are fully clothed offer more safety by minimizing the risk of exposure through skin-to-skin contact.

Think carefully about sexual activity

Do not participate in any intimate activities if you have flu-like symptoms or have developed any unusual rashes or lesions on your body. If you have mpox, it is important to inform your sexual partners and take precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

Practice good hand washing

Practice good hand washing, especially after encountering a person with mpox or touching objects that may have been contaminated.

Avoid infected surfaces

Avoid contact with unwashed materials and objects that have been exposed to direct and intimate contact with someone who has mpox. The virus can be spread through prolonged respiratory secretions or contact with a lesion or rash, not only person-to-person but also through contaminated objects that have not been properly cleaned.

Mask up

Masks are encouraged to help prevent the spread through respiratory droplets in situations with face-to-face contact.


Quarantine yourself from others if you have become exposed to or infected with mpox. Avoid contact with those who have the infection.


The HHS has ramped up testing and vaccine strategy with more than 200k doses to be distributed in the coming days. It is essential to talk to your healthcare provider about getting the smallpox vaccine within two weeks of exposure to someone diagnosed with mpox.


mpox is a highly contagious disease that can spread through direct contact with an infected animal or person, respiratory secretions, skin-to-skin contact, and contaminated objects. To prevent the spread of the virus, it is crucial to take necessary precautions such as avoiding skin-to-skin contact, practicing good hand hygiene, avoiding infected surfaces, wearing masks in situations with face-to-face contact, and isolating oneself if exposed or infected. It is also important to talk to a healthcare provider about getting vaccinated, especially if one has been exposed to someone diagnosed with mpox.

In summary, while mpox can be a serious illness, taking preventative measures and seeking medical attention can greatly reduce the risk of infection and spread of the virus. Stay informed and stay safe!