Symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits or groin, and headache. Fever is typically the first symptom and is followed in one to two days by a rash, but some cases of monkeypox are presenting only with a rash. The rash consists of small blisters or pus-filled bumps or pimples which will progress over a period of 2-4 weeks to scabs and the illness will resolve. The illness begins within 21 days after an exposure to another person who has monkeypox and can present as soon as 5 days after exposure. The rash can look like rashes that occur with other diseases so if there is a question, testing can be done to either correctly identify the illness as monkeypox or exclude it.
Monkeypox typically resolves without any treatment and only in rare cases does it require hospitalization or lead to the possibility of death. If an individual has problems with their immune system, they may be at more risk to become ill and need medical care. A vaccine exists for monkeypox and can be given to someone who has had a known exposure (skin contact) within the past 14 days and are available on a limited basis by appointment through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, cdphe.colorado.gov.
If you are experiencing a rash that you suspect may be monkeypox you may be evaluated and tested at one of our clinics. Skin lesions often appear initially on the face and then on other parts of the body. Cover the lesions, when possible, by wearing long sleeves, pants, or bandages and wear a mask over your nose and mouth when in public until you have been evaluated and diagnosed. Patients who are confirmed to have monkeypox should isolate as much as possible from others and avoid sharing items such as utensils, cups, clothing, towels or sheets. Wash items thoroughly before allowing someone else to use them and wash your hands frequently. These measures should continue until all lesions including scabs have resolved and there is new skin present, typically about 14-28 days.