Algoma Public Health
What is Mpox?
Mpox is a rare viral illness typically spread by very close contact with someone who has Mpox. The virus is similar to smallpox but is less contagious and has milder symptoms. Most people recover from Mpox on their own within 2 to 4 weeks, however, some people can get seriously sick.
We do not know where this virus came from but it was first seen in monkeys and is mostly found in central and western Africa. More recently, the virus has been spreading in other countries, including Canada.
Anyone can get Mpox. During this outbreak, in a number of countries, gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men have been affected.
If you are a known contact to someone with Mpox or think you may have the infection please contact your health care provider or Algoma Public Health immediately for additional information and guidance.
What are the symptoms?
- Runny nose
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Feeling extremely tired
- Rash or lesions generally appear 1 to 3 days after fever although in some recent cases it appears before fever or other symptoms. In recent cases, the rash is appearing around the mouth, genital or anorectal (bum) areas.
How quickly do symptoms develop?
Usually 7-14 days after coming in close contact with someone who has the virus but it can be anywhere from 5-21 days.
How is it spread?
Mpox typically spreads from a person with the virus to others through:
- Prolonged close contact with respiratory droplets from breathing, talking, coughing or sneezing
- Skin-to-skin contact with lesions, blisters, rashes or bodily fluids such as saliva
- Contact with objects, fabrics and surfaces used by someone who has the virus
The virus enters the body through breaks in the skin or through the eyes and mouth. Mpox can be transmitted from contact with infected animals through bites and scratches.
Someone with Mpox can usually pass on the virus when they develop a skin rash or lesions, but it may also spread when they have early symptoms including fever and headache. At this time, Mpox has mostly spread between people who had close intimate/sexual contact with a person who has the virus.
It does not spread as easily or quickly as COVID-19. The virus also does not spread through casual contact.
How long is it contagious?
You must self-isolate immediately from the day your symptoms start. This means stay home. If you live with other people, isolate in your own room and use a separate bathroom if possible.
You should remain in isolation i.e. avoid contact with other people until your rash/lesions has healed, scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed, or your test results show that you do not have Mpox.
How is it treated?
Most people do not require treatment for Mpox. Symptoms usually resolve on their own. Treatment is available for severely ill, hospitalized patients.
Whom should I talk to if I have any questions?
Infectious Diseases, Algoma Public Health at (705) 942-4646, www.algomapublichealth.com or your health care provider.
This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your physician. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.