What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a transmissible virus related to the variola virus, which causes smallpox. The symptoms of the virus include external signs such as rashes and pimples that go through various stages of healing, typically in these areas:

  • Face, particularly the mouth
  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Genitals
  • Anus

Someone who contracted the monkeypox virus may also experience several flu-like symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Coughs 
  • headaches 
  • fevers
  • muscle aches and backaches
  • chills, 
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • exhaustion

Researchers closely monitor monkeypox worldwide because outbreaks are occurring in countries with historically low incidents of the virus. This virus disproportionately affects certain populations, including men who sleep with men (MSM) and their social networks. Unfortunately, this has led to stigma and misconceptions about the virus. The virus is not an STI (sexually transmitted infection) or STD (sexually transmitted disease), nor does it only affect a specific group of people. 


The Importance of Testing and Participating in Partner Notification

To know if you need to be tested, it’s essential to understand how you can contract the virus. Below are some of the most common methods of transmission:

  • Exposure to droplets of saliva
  • Close contact with a person with the virus
  • Skin-to-skin contact with the area showing signs of monkeypox rashes or pimples
  • Hugging, kissing, cuddling, or having sex with someone with the virus

Monkeypox is a contagious disease that can spread from when symptoms start until the rashes fully heal. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. If you present symptoms of the virus, we encourage you to get tested and visit a healthcare professional to assess your options. 

Additionally, if you test positive, you should consider participating in partner notification to prevent the propagation of the virus. Partner notification is the process of notifying sexual partners or people you have been in close contact with in the last 21 days about your status. 


Testing and Vax sites in Atlanta Metro Counties

Vaccination is now available for people who have been in personal contact with someone experiencing monkeypox, individuals who may have been exposed to monkeypox, or people who have an increased risk of being exposed to the virus—including men who have sex with other men, transgender folk, and queer men of color. The vaccine demand exceeds the supply at hand, so Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb, and Clayton Counties are currently being prioritized. 

Register For Vaccination Now

Need more help?

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Access The Latest Information From The Georgia Department of Public Health

EPI reports from State Dept. and Atlanta Metro Counties

Read our newsletters for the latest monkeypox information

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