Monkeypox Treatment & Management

Updated: Sep 26, 2019
  • Author: Mary Beth Graham, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
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Medical Care

The disease is usually self-limited; resolution occurs in 2-4 weeks. In the African cases, the mortality rate was 1-10%, and death was related to the patients' health status, and other comorbidities. Most patients died of secondary infections. No fatalities were reported in the recent US outbreak.

Patients often feel poorly during the febrile stage of the illness; therefore, bedrest along with supportive care may be necessary. Hospitalization may be necessary in more severe cases; a negative pressure room is preferable.

To avoid infection of health care workers and close contacts, airborne and contact precautions should be applied. See the current CDC recommendations at Guideline for Isolation Precautions in Hospitals and Updated Interim Infection Control and Exposure Management Guidance in the Health-Care and Community Setting for Patients with Possible Monkeypox Virus Infection.

Isolation must be continued until the last crust is shed.



Importation of exotic animals as domestic pets poses a threat to the health of both people and animals by introducing nonindigenous pathogens. Animals, especially those implicated above (see Causes) or those in contact with them, demonstrating signs of respiratory distress, mucocutaneous lesions, rhinorrhea, ocular discharge, and/or lymphadenopathy should be quarantined immediately. Avoidance of contact, especially bites, scratches, and exposure to fluids/secretions, is essential. Guidance can be obtained from veterinarians, state/local authorities, and the CDC. See the current CDC recommendations at Monkeypox Infections In Animals: Updated Interim Guidance for Veterinarians.

In September 2019, the FDA approved an attenuated, live, nonreplicating smallpox and monkeypox vaccine (Jynneos) for immunization of adults at high risk for smallpox or monkeypox infection. Approval was determined in a clinical study comparing the immune responses in study participants who received either Jynneos or ACAM2000, an FDA-approved vaccine for the prevention of smallpox. The study included approximately 400 healthy adults, aged 18-42 years who had never been vaccinated for smallpox. Half of the study participants received 2 doses of Jynneos administered 28 days apart, and half received 1 dose of ACAM2000. The group vaccinated with Jynneos had an immune response that was not inferior to immune responses to ACAM2000. [29, 30]

A 2010 report describes experimental low-dose intranasal infection in a STAT1-deficient C57BL/6 mouse model that caused 100% mortality. However, vaccination with modified vaccinia virus Ankara, followed by a booster vaccination, was protective against intranasal infection and produced a more vigorous immune response compared with a single vaccination. [31] Other mouse models are being used to investigate monkeypox pathogenesis, disease progression, viral shedding, and virulence, with the possible aim of testing antivirals and next-generation vaccines. [32]


Long-Term Monitoring

Outpatient management is appropriate and cost-effective in most cases of human infection, but care must be taken to follow recommended quarantine procedures at home.

Contact and respiratory isolation precautions should be exercised to prevent the spread of disease. Direct contact with skin lesions or fomites is considered infectious until the crust detaches from the last skin lesion. Patients and unexposed contacts should wear masks until respiratory symptoms resolve.

Health care workers and others who are asymptomatic and in contact with patients who are infected must closely monitor their symptoms and their temperature for 21 days after the last known contact. See the current CDC recommendations at Updated Interim Infection Control and Exposure Management Guidance in the Health-Care and Community Setting for Patients with Possible Monkeypox Virus Infection.