Monkeypox Information

IF YOU ARE SICK, STAY IN! Click here for isolation guidance for individuals with Monkeypox (MPV).

“If you have any Monkeypox (MPV) symptoms, and especially if you have a rash, it is best to avoid prolonged physical contact with anyone until you are well.”

Am I at risk for Monkeypox (MPV)? Who should get vaccinated? Click here to learn the signs and symptoms of monkeypox and how to prevent its spread.

Click here for World Health Organization (WHO) advice for MSM with answers to common questions about MPV.

Click here for Barnstable County Department of Health & Environment information for Cape Cod residents, visitors, businesses, and health care practitioners.

Outer Cape Health Services: 508.905.2888 for vaccine appointments. Click here for MPV vaccine information. Here is the CDC guidance for who is eligible

Known contacts of MPV cases identified by public health via case investigation, contact tracing, and risk exposure assessments (this may include sexual partners, household contacts, and healthcare workers)

Presumed contacts who meet the following criteria:

  • Know that a sexual partner in the past 14 days was diagnosed with monkeypox; or
  • Had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days in a jurisdiction with known monkeypox.

MA DPH criteria for who is eligible: lives in or works in Massachusetts. 

Barnstable County operates a Community Health Helpline: call 774-330-3001 and leave a detailed message to receive a call from a public health nurse to assist with monkeypox (MPV) infection related questions.

In August, 2022 the White House declared monkeypox a public health emergency,  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the declaration will provide resources and increase access to care.  In July 2022, the World Health Organization found the global MPV outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern. Transmission is occurring in many countries that had not previously reported cases of MPV, and the highest numbers of cases are currently reported from countries in Europe, and America. The majority of currently reported MPV cases are in males, and most occur among males who identified themselves as gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM), in urban areas, and are clustered in social and sexual networks. Early reports of children affected include a few with no known epidemiological link to other cases. In the United States, cases of MPV are widely distributed across the country, although most cases are concentrated in three large cities. While a few cases have occurred in children and a pregnant woman, 99% are related to male-to-male sexual contact. Click here for the WHO Director-General's statement.

Click here for MPV U.S. map and case count per state. MA DPH is the lead  for case investigations and conducting contact tracing for any positive cases at this time, providing isolation instructions. The state is not identifying individuals or their town or county locations.

Here is the recording of 6/28/22 Provincetown MPV Prevention Public Awareness Forum  with MA Department of Public Health representatives! Due to an increasing number of MPV cases nationally and state-wide, Provincetown initiated a multi-agency effort to educate the public about the risk factors, symptoms, and MPV transmission. The town has been working with local healthcare providers, the legislative delegation, Barnstable County, and state officials to identify and promote best practices for MPV awareness and prevention amongst Cape Cod residents, local businesses, and visitors. Although MPV case numbers among  the general population remain low, officials believe early awareness and proactive public outreach are integral to inhibiting a potential spread of the virus. Click here for FAQs.

While the virus does not spread easily between people, people can spread the infection once they develop symptoms. Transmission occurs through direct contact with body fluids and MPV sores, by touching items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or less commonly, through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact. In many of the recent cases, the locations of the rash lesions suggest transmission during sexual contact. Examples where MPV can spread and where it does not:

MPV can spread through:

  • Direct skin-skin contact with rash lesions. Sexual/intimate contact, including kissing while a person is infected.
  • Living in a house and sharing a bed with someone. Sharing towels or unwashed clothing.
  • Respiratory secretions through face-to-face interactions (the type that mainly happen when living with someone or caring for someone who has monkeypox).

MPV does not spread through:

  • Casual conversations. Walking by someone with MPV in a grocery store. Touching items like doorknobs.

Other things you can consider to help reduce the risk from MPV include:

  • Avoid large gatherings like raves and dance parties where you may have lots of close body contact with others.
  • Ask any partner, especially new partners whose health status and recent travel history you are not familiar with, if they have any symptoms of MPV.
  • Stay informed by reading information available on the DPH and CDC websites.

Click here for safer sex guidance,  here for social gathering and more sex information and here for CDC situation summary.

Click here for information provided by the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod.

Click here for cleaning information.


Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness that typically begins with flu-like illness (fever, chills, malaise, headache, muscle aches) and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2-to-4 weeks. In parts of Central and West Africa where monkeypox occurs, people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products. The virus does not spread easily between people; transmission can occur through direct contact with body fluids and monkeypox sores, or indirect contact with fomites (items that have been contaminated with the virus (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through large respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.

Symptoms of monkeypox involve a characteristic rash. The rash is typically preceded by fever/chills, swollen lymph nodes, and other non-specific symptoms such as malaise, headache, and muscle aches following an average incubation period of up to 21 days (typically 6-16 days). Some recent cases have begun with characteristic lesions in the genital/perianal region, and in the absence of fever. For this reason, cases may be confused with more commonly seen infections (e.g., syphilis, chancroid, herpes, and varicella zoster). 

Monkeypox lesions typically progress through specific stages before scabbing and falling off. The rash appearance of monkeypox is very similar to that of smallpox, appearing first on the face or genital area, and spreading to other parts of the body and may include lesions on the palms and soles. The illness is usually mild and most of those infected will recover within a few weeks without treatment. Initial laboratory testing for monkeypox is performed using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay on lesion material.

The CDC recommends:

  • Hand hygiene (i.e., hand washing with soap and water or use of an alcohol-based hand rub) should be performed by infected persons and household contacts after touching lesion material, clothing, linens, or environmental surfaces that may have had contact with lesion material.
  • Laundry (e.g., bedding, towels, clothing) may be washed in a standard washing machine with warm water and detergent; bleach may be added but is not necessary.
  • Care should be used when handling soiled laundry to avoid direct contact with contaminated material.
  • Soiled laundry should not be shaken or otherwise handled in a manner that may disperse infectious particles.
  • Dishes and other eating utensils should not be shared. It is not necessary for the infected person to use separate utensils if properly washed. Soiled dishes and eating utensils should be washed in a dishwasher or by hand with warm water and soap.
  • Contaminated surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected. Standard household cleaning/disinfectants may be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.