What do I need to know?
- Monkeypox cases are on the rise around the world, and there’s a risk of the virus now spreading in Aotearoa.
- In this outbreak the most common way to catch monkeypox is through sexual contact and currently men who have sex with men are at highest risk.
- The virus is most often spread through skin-to-skin contact and contact with sores or blisters. While less common, it can also be passed on via things that have touched the skin or blisters of someone with monkeypox, such as bedding and towels.
- Monkeypox normally starts with a fever and then one to three days later people get a rash or skin blisters. Other symptoms can include headaches, swollen glands and muscle aches.
- If you get symptoms that could be monkeypox stay home and seek medical advice (especially if you have travelled or been in contact with anyone who has travelled). You can contact Auckland Sexual Health on 0800 739 432 Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, speak to your GP or call Healthline for free anytime on 0800 611 116 for advice.
- You should seek advice if you think you’ve had close contact, including sexual contact, with someone who has (or may have) the virus, as you could be at risk of developing it too.
The virus usually starts with a fever. One to three days later a rash usually appears on the place of infection and can then spread to other parts of the body.
The rash may also appear on hands, feet, inside the mouth or on the genital skin. The rash may also start inside someone’s bottom (anus) and be painful.
This will often lead to skin lesions, which are small bumps and blisters, appearing on your skin.
If any lesions appear near your eyes they may need inspecting and a doctor should be informed of these straight away.
Other symptoms may include:
- Swollen glands
- Muscle and body aches
What do I do if I have monkeypox?
- If you develop monkeypox you’ll need to stay home and self-isolate. This will prevent you from passing on the virus to others.
- It’s important you stay away from work and other places while you’re isolating. You also shouldn’t see other people and will need to avoid close contact, including sexual contact, with people you live with or others. If possible, stay in a separate room, cover any rashes with clothing, and wear a mask if you need to leave your room. Make sure you and others regularly wash your hands with soap. You should personally clean any surfaces you touch or items you use, especially your own bedding and towels.
- You are no longer at risk of passing on the virus once your skin lesions have crusted over, the scabs have fallen off and you have developed a layer of fresh skin underneath. This normally takes around 2 – 4 weeks. You can finish isolating after this following a final check-up by a health professional.
- While you’re at home you’ll receive regular calls from public health and also be provided with a care package, including hygiene and cleaning supplies. Public health will also provide advice on what to do and what to expect with your symptoms.
- If you need to go to a medical centre or hospital always call first and tell them you have monkeypox.
- You will not be required to tell anyone that you have monkeypox, besides a health professional, and we will never publish your name or any of your personal information. We may reach out to other people you’ve had close or sexual contact with, as they could be at risk, but we will not share your name. If we cannot directly reach people you’ve had close or sexual contact with we may need to publicise some information about at risk locations, but we will not share any identifiable information about you as part of this.
- If you cannot safely isolate at home then let public health staff know when they call.
Find out more about Monkeypox