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Mpox

Mpox is a rare disease caused by infection with the mpox virus. It is related to variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and rarely fatal. Learn more about mpox.

Who should get vaccinated?

In the current outbreak, you may want to get vaccinated if:

  • You might have already been exposed to mpox if:
    • You have been identified as a close contact of someone with mpox.
    • You learn that one of your sex partners in the past 2 weeks has been diagnosed with mpox.
    • You are a man who has had sex with other men, or if you are a transgender or nonbinary person, and in the past 2 weeks you have had:
      • Sex with multiple partners or group sex.
      • Sex at a commercial sex venue (like a sex club or bathhouse).
      • Sex at an event, venue, or in an area where mpox transmission is occurring.
  • You might be exposed to mpox in the future, if:
    • You are a man who has sex with other men, or if you are a transgender or nonbinary person and in the past 6 months have had any of the following:
      • A new diagnosis of one or more sexually transmitted diseases including acute HIV, chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis.
      • More than one sex partner.
    • You are a person who in the past 6 months has had any of the following:
      • Sex at a commercial sex venue (like a sex club or bathhouse)
      • Sex at an event, venue, or in an area where mpox transmission is occurring.
    • You are a person whose sexual partner identifies with any of the above scenarios.
    • You are a person who anticipates experiencing any of the above scenarios.

Learn more about mpox vaccination recommendations.

Mpox Vaccination Options

 

Schedule a vaccine appointment online: If you meet the eligiblity criteria, you can schedule an mpox vaccine appointment online now.

 

Visit a community vaccine clinic near you: Visit a Maine clinic. Visit a New Hampshire clinic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Mpox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:

  • Direct contact with mpox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with mpox
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with mpox
  • Contact with respiratory secretions

This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:

  • Oral, anal and vaginal sex or touching the genitals (penis, testicles, labia and vagina) or anus of a person with mpox
  • Hugging, massage and kissing
  • Prolonged face-to-face contact
  • Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with mpox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear and sex toys.

Learn more about how mpox spreads.

Take the following steps to prevent getting mpox:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like mpox
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with mpox
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with mpox
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with mpox has used
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with mpox
    • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with mpox
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.

Learn more about mpox prevention.

Vaccination

Vaccination is an important tool in preventing the spread of mpox. However, people who are vaccinated are encouraged to continue to protect themselves from infection by avoiding close, skin-to-skin contact, including intimate contact, with someone who has mpox.

In Maine, the mpox vaccine is available to people who meet at least one of these criteria:

  • Gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men
  • Transgender, gender non-conforming, or non-binary individuals who have sex with men
  • Any individual who has:
    • Multiple sexual partners, or
    • Anonymous sexual partners, or
    • Sexual partners from an app
  • Individuals exposed to someone with mpox in the past 14 days who were notified of the exposure by a:
    • Public health agency, or
    • Person with mpox

If you meet these criteria, consider scheduling a MaineHealth mpox vaccine appointment. Schedule online now >

Learn More

Please stay home and contact your primary care provider. They will help you get tested and arrange treatment if needed. Most mpox cases get better without medication and do not require emergency care.

There are no treatments specifically for mpox virus infections. However, mpox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat mpox virus infections. Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.

Talk to your primary care provider if you have mpox symptoms, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has mpox.

Mpox symptoms may include:

  • Fever and headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills and exhaustion
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
  • A rash that may be located on or near the genitals, anus, hands, feet, chest, face or mouth

Learn more about mpox symptoms

Mpox and Safer Sex

Talk to your partner about any recent illness and be aware of new or unexplained rash on your body or your partner’s body. If you or your partner feel sick, or have a new or an unexplained rash, do not have sex and see a health care provider.

Vaccination

Vaccines are the most effective way to protect yourself and your family from contagious diseases such as COVID-19 and influenza that can cause serious illness. If you fell behind on routine health care during the pandemic, talk to your family doctor today about catching up on recommended vaccines, annual exams and well child visits.