Mpox at UCSF
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Mpox (pronounced "em-pox" and formerly known as monkeypox) is an infectious disease that spreads through close skin-to-skin contact. You can learn more about mpox, including what to do if you may have been exposed, from the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
UCSF Health doesn't currently offer vaccination against the mpox virus. If you live in San Francisco, you can learn how to get vaccinated through the San Francisco Department of Public Health. If you live outside of San Francisco, contact your local health department or visit California's My Turn website to find an mpox vaccination site.
- What is mpox?
Mpox is a zoonotic virus, meaning it was initially transmitted to humans from infected animals. Symptoms – including fever, swollen glands and muscle aches – may resemble the flu. Many patients also develop a rash that looks like blisters or pimples on the genitals, anus, fingers, mouth, face or elsewhere. Spots typically begin as flat sores, then turn into fluid-filled bumps that eventually burst and crust over.
Mpox is rarely fatal, and most people recover without treatment in a few weeks. Pain relievers and topical medications can ease the symptoms. If you have a severe case, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication.
- How does mpox spread?
This infectious disease spreads mostly through intimate contact, including direct contact with a rash, scabs or other body fluids. It can be transmitted through respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact, such as when kissing or during sex. Only patients with active symptoms, which typically last two to four weeks, can spread mpox.
Many cases have occurred in men who have sex with men, but anyone who has close contact with a symptomatic person can get mpox.