general information


Human mpox is a rare but serious illness c​aused by infection with the mpox virus, which can infect humans and other animals, such as monkeys and rodents. The human mpox virus belongs to the genus Orthopoxvirus. The Orthopoxvirus genus also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.

Historically, most human cases of mpox have been identified in Central and West Africa. Rarely, human mpox cases have been identified outside of Central or West Africa, though many cases reported links to those regions, either through travel or exposure to humans or animals that had been infected in those areas.

In May 2022, several clusters of human mpox cases were reported in countries that don’t normally report human mpox, including the United States. It’s not clear how the people were exposed to mpox, but early data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases. However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has mpox is at risk, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.​

On June 16, 2022, MDH reported a presumed human mpox virus infection in a Maryland resident.​ 

Please refer to the CDC website​ for current Maryland and national case counts.

signs & symptoms: 

Symptoms of mpox can include:

  • ​Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash.

how is it spread? 

Mpox spreads in different ways. The virus can spread from person-to-person through:
  • ​direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
  • touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
  • pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta
It’s also possible for people to get mpox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.
Mpox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
People who do not have mpox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others. At this time, it is not known if mpox can spread through semen or vaginal fluids.


Take the following steps to prevent getting mpox:​
If you are sick with mpox, follow CDC guidance on how to isolate​ and disinfect at home to avoid exposing others.​

additional resources: 

Maryland Department of Health videos: 





Maryland Department of Health: 


centers for disease control and prevention: 

CDC Mpox​ Website

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