Mpox is a disease caused by the mpox 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 mpox virus identified in the U.S. are rarely fatal, and most people recover in 2–4 weeks.
National data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up the majority of cases in the current mpox outbreak. However, anyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who has been in close contact with someone who has mpox is at risk.
How Mpox Spreads
Mpox is usually spread from one person to another through close, often skin-to skin contact. See the most current information on how mpox spreads from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
How to Lower Your Risk
- How To Protect Yourself and Others (CDC)
- Social Gatherings, Safe Sex and Monkeypox (CDC)
- Monkeypox and Safer Sex (PDF) | Other Languages
- 6 Ways We Can Have Safer Sex in the Time of Monkeypox (Fenway Health)
- Monkeypox Information for Teens and Young Adults (CDC)
If you have any symptoms of mpox, 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.
The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to mpox and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to mpox.
To find out where you can get vaccinated, see the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s list of mpox 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 mpox, including antiviral treatment and supportive care. We recommend that residents infected with mpox reach out to their health care provider to discuss these options to ensure they are safe and appropriate.
- Cambridge Health Alliance: Mpox Information
- Fenway Health: Mpox Information
- Massachusetts Department of Public Health: Mpox website
- CDC: Mpox website
5-10 mpox cases have been reported in Cambridge residents between May–November 2022. See Cambridge Case Data.
Massachusetts and U.S.
For state and national data, visit the CDC’s U.S. Case Count page.
Updated: December 6, 2022