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Monkeypox is a rare viral disease spread through close personal contact, including skin-to-skin. It can cause a rash or sores, and flu-like illness. The disease is rare, but is being increasingly reported in the U.S. and other countries that don't normally have monkeypox cases.


Mississippi's first case of monkeypox was identified on July 25, 2022. For the latest case counts, see the CDC's monkeypox surveillance page.

Mississippi and U.S. cases

Vaccination for high risk individuals

MSDH offers a two-dose monkeypox vaccination at selected county health department locations for those at highest risk of exposure.

Adults 18 and older may be eligible if:

  • They have been notified or are aware of close, intimate or sexual contact with someone diagnosed with monkeypox,
  • Or they who identify as gay, bisexual, or transgender, or other men who have sex with men who report:
    • having multiple or anonymous sex partners,
    • or having attended an event or venue where monkeypox may have been transmitted (for instance, by sex or skin-to-skin contact).

Eligibility and appointments: Call the Monkeypox Call Center at 1-877-978-6453 to determine your eligibility and to make an appointment for vaccination at one of the participating health department clinics.

How Monkeypox is Spread

Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal contact — including skin-to-skin contact such as:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, sores or scabs
  • Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox
  • Through respiratory droplets from face-to-face contact with a person who has monkeypox

Monkeypox does not spread easily without close contact.

This contact can happen during any intimate sexual contact:

  • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex
  • Hugging, massage, or touching any body part with monkeypox sores
  • Kissing and talking closely
  • Touching fabrics and objects used by a person with monkeypox, such as bedding, towels or surfaces that have come into contact with them

Many monkeypox cases have occurred among men who have sex with men, but anyone who comes into close contact with an infected person may be at risk.

Monkeypox Symptoms

Early symptoms of monkeypox are usually flu-like:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

Other symptoms usually develop a few days later:

  • A painful rash or sores, sometimes located on or near the genitals or anus, but sometimes in other areas such as the hands, feet, chest or face. These sores will go through several stages before healing.
  • Sores may be inside the body, including the mouth, vagina, or anus.

Note: Some people experience a rash or sores first, followed by other symptoms and some only experience a rash or sores.

When you can infect others: Monkeypox can be spread to others when symptoms begin and until all sores have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. Healing can take several weeks.

If You Have Symptoms

If you get a new or unexplained rash, especially if you have been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox:

  • Isolate at home.
  • Contact your healthcare provider for testing.

If You or Your Partner Have Monkeypox

  • Follow the treatment and prevention recommendations of your healthcare provider.
  • Avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until all your sores have healed and you have a fresh layer of skin formed.


For Healthcare Providers

More Information

The CDC has more information on monkeypox and protective steps.

Last reviewed on Jun 3, 2022

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Mississippi State Department of Health 570 East Woodrow Wilson Dr Jackson, MS 39216 866-HLTHY4U Contact and information

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