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Personal Hygiene and Protection

How does monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, usually skin-to-skin contact including:

  • Direct contact with the monkeypox rash, scabs, or bodily fluids from a known positive case.
  • Touching porous surfaces such as fabrics (bedding and clothing) and surfaces that have been used by a known positive case.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions from a known positive case.

Direct contact can happen during close intimate contact including:

  • Sexual contact with a known positive case (oral, anal, vaginal sex) or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina), or anus.
  • Hugging, kissing, massaging of a known positive case.
  • Prolonged face-to-face contact with a known positive case.
  • Touching fabrics or objects that were used during sexual contact of a known positive case.

A pregnant individual can also spread the monkeypox virus to their fetus through the placenta.

It is also possible to get monkeypox from an infected animals by scratching, petting, or being bitten and also by preparing or eating meat from an infected animal.

An individual can spread monkeypox from the time symptoms start until their rash has fully healed and fresh layer of skin has formed. 

Prevention and Protecting Yourself

Taking steps to prevent getting monkeypox is important to remaining healthy and void of the illness.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following three steps to prevent oneself from getting monkeypox.

  1. Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with individuals who have a rash, scabs or other open wounds that may resemble monkeypox.
  2. Avoid contact with objects and materials that a known person with monkeypox has used. This includes not sharing utensils or cups or handling bedding and clothing of a person known to have monkeypox.
  3. Wash your hands often or use alcohol based hand sanitizer especially before eating or touching your face after bathroom usage. 

More information on prevention can be found on the CDC Website.