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Anyone, 6 months of age and older, is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Find your nearest vaccination location at vaccines.gov.

Monkeypox (MPV) Comparison to COVID-19 and STIs

Due to many similarities between MPV, COVID-19, and sexually transmitted infections (particularly syphilis), below is a comparison to display how MPV compares to these other infections:

Questions Monkeypox (MPV) COVID-19 Syphilis

How widespread?

Low (Though MPV is of low concern for the general public, populations of focus are primarily among close sexual networks consistent of gay, bisexual, and other same gender loving men)

  • As of early September 2022, approximately 56,000 global cases, 21,000 in the US

Not similar to MPV

High

  • Hundreds of millions of cases since the start of pandemic

Similar to MPV

Low (Though syphilis is of low concern for the general public, populations of focus are primarily among close sexual networks consistent of gay, bisexual, and other same gender loving men)

  • In 2020, there were 42,000 new cases of syphilis (Specifically Primary & Secondary stages of syphilis, which are the most infectious stages)

How it is commonly spread

  • Primarily through direct contact with monkeypox rash or sores by very close and/or prolonged skin-to-skin contact
  • Respiratory droplets (kissing, coughing, or sneezing)
  • May spread during pregnancy to unborn baby

Similar to MPV

  • Through tiny droplets in the air by breathing, talking, sneezing, or coughing

Similar to MPV

  • Via skin-to-skin contact primarily through direct contact with syphilis rash or sores
  • May spread during pregnancy to unborn baby

Signs & Symptoms

  • Rash with blisters on face, hands, feet, body, mouth, anus/butt, or genital area. These may be painful!
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Headaches
  • Muscle and back aches
  • Low energy
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)

Similar to MPV

  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Muscle aches
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)

Not similar to MPV

  • Trouble breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Loss of taste and smell
  • Cold symptoms

Similar to MPV

  • Rash on body, hands, and feet
  • Sores in mouth, anus/butt, or genital areas

Not similar to MPV

  • Though rash and sores are symptoms similar to monkeypox, syphilis rash and sores are typically NOT painful

Prevention

  • Avoid close physical contact with people that have symptoms
  • Check your partner/s for rash or sores
  • Avoid contact with contaminated materials
  • Wear PPE (mask, gloves, eye protection) if you can't avoid close contact with someone who has symptoms
  • Practice good hand hygiene
  • Get vaccinated (if eligible), mpoxvaxmap.org
  • Condoms & barrier methods may protect your anus/butt, mouth, penis, or vagina from exposure to MPV. However, condoms alone may not prevent all exposures to MPV since the rash and blisters can occur on other parts of the body.

Similar to MPV

  • Wear PPE (mask, gloves, eye protection) when around someone positive
  • Practice good hand hygiene
  • Get vaccinated (if eligible)
  • Meet others outdoors or in well ventilated spaces

Similar to MPV

  • Avoid intimate contact
  • Routine discussions with your partner/s and health care provider
  • Condoms & barrier methods may protect your anus/butt, mouth, penis, or vagina from exposure to syphilis. However, condoms alone may not prevent all exposures to syphilis since the rash and sores can occur on other parts of the body.