Font Size:

Frequently Asked Questions

This page provides answers to your most-asked questions about mpox in Alabama. Download our one-page flyer which contains the questions below. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mpox is a very rare disease caused by infection with the mpox virus. It is usually found in Central and West Africa and does not occur naturally in the United States. However, cases have recently been identified in the U.S. with more cases expected.
Mpox does not spread easily from person to person. It can spread through contact with infected animals or infected humans, or through contact with materials used by infected people (like clothing or linens). The virus typically enters the body through broken skin, respiratory droplets, or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).
In the current outbreak, the mpox virus is spreading primarily through sexual contact. However, infections have occurred through other exposures, including non-sexual contact with infectious lesions and from contaminated instruments in clinical settings.
Disease symptoms often involve a rash which begins after the start of other symptoms. For the current outbreak, cases have presented atypically, which means that most of the cases have had a rash to start in the genital or perianal region. Early signs include fever, malaise (a general feeling of discomfort), headache, swollen lymph nodes, and sometimes cough or sore throat. Other symptoms include muscle aches, backache, chills, and exhaustion. This clinical picture may change as more cases of mpox are diagnosed.
In most cases of mpox, treatment is supportive, easing the symptoms of illness. Some cases, such as in persons with severe disease or high risk of severe disease, may need special antiviral treatment, which has to be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An antiviral developed to treat smallpox (tecovirimat, commercialized as TPOXX) has been approved for the treatment of mpox and may be obtained. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is in regular communication with the CDC about any treatment for mpox if needed.

Steps to help prevent mpox include:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like mpox
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials, like bedding or eating utensils, that a person with mpox has used
  • Wash hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Get vaccinated
  • If you are in Central or West Africa, avoid contact with animals that could have the virus (such as animals that are sick or have been found dead)
There is a vaccine (Jynneos) that can help prevent or lessen the severity of mpox for exposed individuals. Some health departments and other clinics will have a limited amount of vaccine for selected high-risk persons. During this current outbreak, due to a limited vaccine supply, persons who have been in direct contact with a presumed or confirmed mpox are candidates for the vaccine. Some other persons who are candidates for vaccine include persons who have male-to-male sexual contact with other risk factors, including sexual contact with multiple, anonymous, or casual sex partners, treatment for an STD in the last 14 days, more than one partner in the last 14 days who is HIV positive on HIV PrEP or has an immunosuppressive condition. Mpox can be prevented if the vaccine is given up to four days after exposure. Vaccine given after four and up to fourteen days after exposure could reduce the severity of the illness but might not prevent the disease. Previous vaccination against smallpox may provide limited protection since both diseases are from the same family of viruses. People vaccinated against smallpox, in the past, will have some protection against mpox. People below the 40-50 age group are unlikely to have been inoculated against smallpox since vaccination ended in the world by 1980. Some people received the smallpox vaccine after 9/11 if they were first responders or medical personnel.
ADPH will provide PPE if entities do not have ready access.
Please contact your healthcare provider if you believe you have signs or symptoms of mpox.

Page last updated: March 17, 2023