Mpox: How it spreads, prevention and risks

On this page

How mpox spreads

Current evidence suggests that mpox spreads in 3 ways:

Health authorities across Canada and internationally are monitoring this situation as it evolves. We're still collecting information about how the virus spreads at this time, including looking into:


You can be exposed to mpox in different situations, such as during:

Mpox can spread from person-to-person through contact with lesions or scabs of a person with mpox. These lesions or scabs may be found on the skin or mucosal surfaces, such as:

It can also spread through contact with bodily fluids of a person with mpox, such as:

The virus may spread through respiratory particles, such as from:

However, based on the current evidence, the role respiratory particles play in transmission is unknown, but likely limited.

Emerging evidence suggests that some people with mpox may be contagious up to 4 days before their symptoms begin. This is known as pre-symptomatic transmission. At this time, it's not yet known:

If you're pregnant, there's a chance you could pass on the virus to your fetus through the placenta.

Learn more about:

Contaminated objects

You can also get mpox by coming into direct contact with personal items a person with mpox has used, including:

Learn more about:

Animal to human

Animals don't currently play a role in the spread of mpox in Canada.

However, transmission to people from animals, particularly wild rodents, has been reported in West and Central Africa.

There was also an mpox outbreak in the US in 2003 after infected small mammals from Africa were imported there for the pet trade. They infected pet prairie dogs that they were housed with, which led to an outbreak of 47 human cases.

Activities that may have spread the virus from infected animals to people in these situations include:

Learn more about:

Risk of getting mpox

Anyone can get and spread mpox if they come into close contact with someone who has the virus, regardless of:

Since May 2022, there have been cases in several countries where the disease is not normally found, including Canada.

Person-to-person transmission is currently happening in Canada. Most cases in Canada so far are in people who self-identify as gbMSM (gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men), especially those with multiple sexual partners. This is in line with international trends in countries where mpox didn’t occur before the ongoing global outbreak. However, it's important to stress that the risk of exposure to the monkeypox virus is not exclusive to any group or setting.

Having multiple sexual partners may increase your overall risk of infection.

Provincial, territorial and local health authorities continue to monitor for and investigate cases of mpox in Canada as the situation evolves. We update this information as it becomes available.

Preventing the spread of mpox

You can help lower your risk of getting mpox by avoiding:

You can also lower your risk by:

Learn how to reduce the risk of spread if you have mpox, are a caregiver to someone with mpox, or have been exposed.

Learn more about:

Community settings

If you operate a non-health care community setting that the public can access, you should:

Learn more about:

How operators can reduce the risk of spread of mpox in community settings

Related links

Page details

Date modified: