Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus. It is typically spread through close physical contact.

The virus often causes a painful rash, which may look like bumps on your skin, blisters, or ulcers. Some people have a flu-like illness before they develop a rash. Infections with the type of monkeypox virus identified in the U.S. are rarely fatal, and most people recover in 2–4 weeks.

At this time, national data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up the majority of cases in the current monkeypox outbreak.  However, anyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.

How Monkeypox Spreads

Monkeypox is usually spread from one person to another through close, often skin-to skin contact. See the most current information on how monkeypox spreads from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How to Lower Your Risk


If you have any symptoms of monkeypox, talk to your health care provider, even if you don’t think you have had contact with someone who has monkeypox.

If you do not have a provider, you can:

  • Contact the Cambridge Public Health Department for guidance:  617-665-3800 (press 8).  
  • Register to become a Cambridge Health Alliance patient: 617-665-1305.

While you are waiting for your test results, you should isolate at home and follow this guidance from the CDC.

Monkeypox Vaccine

The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox. 

To find out where you can get vaccinated, see the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s list of monkeypox vaccine providers. You will be able to follow the links to make an appointment at a Cambridge Health Alliance vaccination site or other approved locations in Massachusetts.

Please note that vaccine supplies are very limited. Learn more


There are several treatment options to improve the symptoms of monkeypox, including antiviral treatment and supportive care. We recommend that residents infected with monkeypox reach out to their health care provider to discuss these options to ensure they are safe and appropriate.  

More Information


Cambridge Cases
5-10 monkeypox cases have been reported in Cambridge residents between May–October 2022. See Cambridge Case Data.


Massachusetts and U.S. 
For state and national data, visit the CDC’s U.S. Case Count page.

Updated: November 14, 2022