Mpox (monkeypox) factsheet

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Organization: Public Health Agency of Canada

Date published: July 2023

Mpox (monkeypox) Facts

About mpox

Mpox is a viral infection that often appears with a rash that may be painful. Most people recover on their own after a few weeks. In some circumstances, people can become very sick and could die.


People usually develop symptoms 5 to 21 days after being exposed to the virus. Symptoms typically last 14 to 28 days.

Mpox symptoms

How mpox is passed

Mpox can be passed from person-to-person through contact with the lesions or scabs of a person who has mpox. These lesions or scabs may be found on the skin or mucosal surfaces (such as the eyes, mouth, throat, genitals, anus, or rectum).

It may also be possible for it to be passed through:

Emerging evidence suggests that some people who have mpox may be contagious 1 to 4 days before their symptoms begin. This is known as pre-symptomatic transmission. At this time, it's not yet known how often pre-symptomatic transmission occurs.

There's also a chance that people who are pregnant and have mpox can pass the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

How mpox spreads

Getting tested

You may be advised to get tested for mpox based on a combination of factors, such as:

Contact a health care provider or your local public health authority for more information on getting assessed and tested.

Mpox: Getting tested

Vaccines and treatment

The vaccine Imvamune®is authorized by Health Canada for adults 18 years of age and older. Two doses of Imvamune®are recommended for people who are at highest risk of exposure to mpox, before they are exposed to the virus.

This includes:

Vaccination is also recommended for people who have had a potential exposure and in settings where transmission is happening. For those who have had a probable exposure, it is important to get vaccinated as soon as possible, ideally within 4 days of exposure. Immunization programs vary across the provinces and territories so reach out to a healthcare provider or your local public health authority to learn more.

Treatment for mpox includes wound care, pain control, and treatment of bacterial superinfections and other complications.

Mpox: Vaccines and treatment

Risks of getting mpox

Most cases in Canada so far are in people with multiple sexual partners, mostly men who report sexual contact with other men. It's important to stress that the risk of exposure to the virus is not limited to any group or setting. Anyone can get or pass on mpox if they come into close contact with someone who has the virus, regardless of sex, race, gender or sexual orientation. We continue to monitor for and investigate cases of mpox in Canada. We will update this information as it becomes available.

Risks of getting mpox

Preventing mpox transmission

You can lower your risk of getting or passing on mpox with the following measures:

Preventing the spread of mpox

If you have mpox

If you have mpox, your local public health authority may require or suggest you isolate to prevent passing it on to others. Follow their advice on isolation including the length of time they recommend. The isolation period usually ends when the rash has healed (all the scabs have fallen off on their own and the skin is healing).

To lower the risk of passing on the virus to others when isolating, you should avoid:

You should also practise the following measures when isolating:

At this time, we're still researching how mpox is transmitted, including the possible risks after a person has recovered. Contact your local public health authority for more information on safer sex practices after recovering from mpox.

What to do if you have mpox or if you are providing care at home to someone with mpox

If you've been exposed

Contact your local public health authority if you may have been exposed to someone with mpox. Your local public health authority may also notify you if you've been exposed. They will provide you with instructions on what to do, which may vary depending on your exposure risk level.

In some instances, you may be instructed to get tested for the virus or go to a vaccination clinic to receive a vaccination.

Unless you have been instructed otherwise, you can continue routine daily activities, while taking some precautions for 21 days after you've been exposed:

If you've been exposed to mpox

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