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Mpox Virus

Mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) is an orthopoxvirus caused by the Monkeypox virusĀ (MPXV), typically transmitted from animals to humans, that causes a disease with symptoms similar to, but less severe than, smallpox. Mpox is typically mild and self-limiting, with most people recovering within 2-4 weeks. However, severe illness can occur in some individuals.

Mpox is typically found in parts of central and west Africa. It does not usually circulate in humans or animals in Canada. Initial symptoms of monkeypox may include:

  • fever, chills
  • headache
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • muscle pain
  • fatigue
  • The above symptoms, followed by a rash or sores, usually one to three days later, on the palms of the hands, on the soles of the feet, inside the mouth, and/or on the genitals. In some cases, the rash is the first symptom.

Although the risk for Mpox is low, anyone who has had close physical contact with someone who has MPOX or contaminated surface or is concerned about symptoms they are experiencing should self-isolate and contact a health care professional.

Adhere to the following health and personal hygiene tips to reduce your risk of Mpox and other infectious diseases:

  • Practice good hand hygiene.
  • Reduce or limit the number of people you have close contact with, including sexual partners.
  • Talk to sexual partners about sexual health, and use barriers such as gloves and condoms.
  • Avoid sharing objects such as toothbrushes, sex toys and drug use supplies.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and fabrics.
  • Standard household cleaners/disinfectants can be used to kill the virus on surfaces.
  • Avoid touching bedding and laundry that has been in contact with someone who has the virus.
  • Avoid touching skin lesions or rashes on another person.
  • Stay home if you are sick and encourage others to do the same.

Treatment for symptomatic mpox mainly includes:

  • wound care
  • pain control
  • treating bacterial superinfections and other complications

There is limited data on the clinical effectiveness of specific antiviral treatments for mpox in people. Health Canada authorized the Imvamune vaccine for immunization against monkeypox virus and orthopoxvirus infections in adults 18 years of age and older who are at high risk of exposure.

Learn more about treatment and vaccines.

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