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Monkeypox – the facts and what to do



What is it?

Monkeypox (MPV) is a viral infection usually associated with travel to West Africa. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness, spread by very close contact with someone with monkeypox and most people recover within a few weeks.

Am I at risk?

The virus does not spread easily between people and the risk to the UK population is low. However, the most recent cases are in gay, bisexual and other MSM communities, and as the virus spreads through close contact, we are advising these groups to be alert to any unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, and to contact a sexual health service by phone in the first instance if they have concerns.

What are the symptoms?

Initial symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body including the genitals.

The rash changes and goes through different stages, and can look like chickenpox or syphilis, before finally forming a scab, which later falls off.

These are some photos of what the rash/spots may look like:

Monkeypox Image 1.png

I’m worried as I might have these symptoms – what do I do next?

We may need to see you to determine if you have this infection.

Anyone with concerns that they could be infected with monkeypox is advised to make contact with clinics ahead of their visit by phone – please don’t attend the clinic unless you have been asked to do so after speaking to a clinician.

We assure you that anything discussed, as with all of our consultations in sexual health, will be treated sensitively and confidentially.

Phone: 0300 303 1948

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