Monkeypox virus or MPV

Symptoms usually begin 5–21 days (average 6–16 days) after being exposed to the virus. The first signs are a high fever, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a severe headache but some people may not have these initial symptoms.

The UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency, previously Public Health England) has identified multiple confirmed cases of monkeypox virus (MPV) in the UK, mostly affecting gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men (MSM). It is usually a mild illness which does not require treatment, but can sometimes become more serious.

What are the Symptoms of MPV?

Symptoms usually begin 5–21 days (average 6–16 days) after being exposed to the virus. The first signs are a high fever, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes and a severe headache but some people may not have these initial symptoms. Approximately 1–5 days later a rash appears. The rash usually starts on the genitals or face before spreading to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages before finally forming a scab (see pictures below).

Pictures of Monkeypox lesions.

If you have MPV it is infectious until the last scab has fallen off. It is important to remember that MPV is usually mild and that most people will recover within a few weeks without any treatment. Reports state that the type of MPV in the UK currently is a different form of the virus, causing a less severe illness.  Occasionally, people become more unwell and require hospital admission, so if you have been diagnosed with MPV, it is important to stay in touch with your healthcare provider and let them know if your symptoms worsen.

How do you catch  monkeypox ?

Monkeypox does not spread easily between people. Person-to-person spread may occur through:

  • Direct contact with skin lesions or scabs.
  • Contact with clothing or linens (such as bedding or towels) that have been used by an infected person.
  • Breathing in droplets from the coughing or sneezing of someone who has a monkeypox rash.

What to do if you think you might have Monkeypox – Using Sexual Health Services

If you think you have signs or symptoms of MPV please don’t walk into the Sexual health clinic.  Monkeypox is infectious and so we want to make sure we keep it contained.  Instead, call us on 0808 1681282 and we will arrange for a clinician to  call you back to discuss yours signs and symptoms.  If you need to be seen then we will make an arrangement for you to come in.

Is there a test for Monkeypox?

After your symptoms are reviewed by a clinician over the phone, if you have a rash that is highly suspicious of Monkeypox then we will arrange to see you by appointment and we can take a swab that can be tested for monkeypox.

What is the treatment if I have Monkeypox?

Remember – most people generally have mild symptoms and most people will recover within a few weeks without any treatment.  

If you are told you have Monkeypox then you will need to self-isolate and UKSHA will contact you and talk to you about informing anyone who may have been exposed to MPV and provide further advice. People exposed to a known case should self-isolate at home for 21 days. Giving smallpox vaccine after exposure to a confirmed case reduces the chance of becoming unwell.

How to reduce the risk of passing on Monkeypox

Don’t share bedding, towels and other linen and avoid any sexual contact until your symptoms have been reviewed.

LINK to GOV.UK Monkeypox Information