Beverly Hospital is dedicated to keeping the community safe while providing education on the current monkeypox outbreak. Learn general information on monkeypox by reading below.

What Is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease similar to smallpox caused by the monkeypox virus. 

It’s found mostly in areas of Africa but has been seen in other areas of the world. Monkeypox causes flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills, and a rash develops within a few days. There’s no proven treatment for monkeypox, but it usually goes away on its own.

How is It Diagnosed?

Because monkeypox is so rare, your healthcare provider may first suspect other rash illnesses, such as measles, chickenpox or even smallpox. However, swollen lymph nodes distinguish monkeypox from other poxes.

To diagnose monkeypox, your healthcare provider takes a tissue sample that is looked at using a microscope. You may also need to give a blood sample to check for the monkeypox virus or antibodies your immune system makes to it.

How Does It Spread?

Monkeypox is spread when you come into contact with an animal or a person infected with the virus.

Animal-to-person transmission occurs through broken skin, like from bites or scratches, or through direct contact with an infected animal’s blood, bodily fluids or pox lesions.

Monkeypox can spread from person to person as well, but it’s less common. Person-to-person spread occurs when you come in contact with virus particles from another person.

When an infected person coughs or sneezes, the virus can be transmitted through airborne droplets. It requires prolonged face-to-face contact, but you can then breathe in these tiny droplets from someone else (respiratory droplets), or get them in your eyes or nose. You can also get it directly from touching the lesions on an infected person.

You can also get monkeypox by coming into direct or indirect contact with materials contaminated with the virus. These materials can include clothing, bedding and other linens used by an infected person or animal.

How Does It Spread?

Monkeypox symptoms are similar to but milder than smallpox symptoms. Early signs of monkeypox include flu-like symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Muscle Aches
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes

    After 1-3 days, a rash with raised bumps develops. The rash often starts on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body, including the palms of hands and soles of feet. 

    The rash starts as flat, red bumps. The bumps turn into blisters, which fill with pus. After several days, the blisters crust over and fall off.

    How Long Does Monkeypox Last?

    Monkeypox normally takes about two to four weeks to run its course. If you are exposed to monkeypox, your provider will monitor you for 21 days.

    Is Monkeypox Curable?

    There’s currently no proven, safe treatment available for monkeypox. Antiviral drugs may help, but they haven’t been studied as a treatment for monkeypox. Instead, your healthcare provider will monitor your condition and try to relieve your symptoms. 

    Most people get better on their own without treatment. If there is an outbreak of monkeypox in multiple people, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has options to control the spread of the disease using the smallpox vaccine and other treatments.

    Is Monkeypox Fatal?

    Monkeypox is milder than smallpox, but it can still be fatal. Monkeypox causes death in up to 10% of cases.


    This page provides basic general information only, and is to be used as a guide, not as a complete resource on the subject. If you have any further questions, please ask your physician or call your local Department of Health Services.

    Prepared by Beverly Hospital’s Epidemiology Department in collaboration with the CDC, and Los Angeles Department of Health Services (LACO-DHS) REV. 6/6/2022