​This fact sheet provides information for mpox contacts.

Last updated: 22 November 2023

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​How do I know if I am a mpox contact?

Your local public health unit (PHU) will let you know if you are a high, medium or low-risk contact.

Reasons you might be a contact:

  • you live with someone with mpox
  • you had indirect contact for a long time with someone with mpox
  • you had close direct contact with someone with mpox while they had symptoms or with contaminated material (such as bed linen), crusts or bodily fluids.

The local PHU will check in regularly with high and medium risk contacts for 21 days after their exposure. Low-risk contacts can call their PHU on 1300 066 055 if they have any concerns.

What should I do if I have been in contact with mpox?

For 21 days from the last time you were exposed to someone who has mpox you should:

  • monitor for any signs or symptoms of mpox
  • take your temperature if you feel unwell
  • wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser regularly.

If your PHU has said you are a high or medium-risk contact, for 21 days you also should:

  • only visit healthcare facilities if you need urgent medical attention (for other circumstances please discuss with your PHU)
  • only visit childcare, schools or aged care facilities when your PHU says it is safe
  • work from home where possible
  • wear a surgical mask if you need to leave your home or if you’re in the same room as other people
  • keep at least a 1.5m distance from others, particularly people at higher risk of infection (infants, older people, immunocompromised people, and people who are pregnant) and people you live with
  • not have sex with others
  • clean places you often touch such as door handles and light switches regularly with disinfectant
  • not touch animals (particularly dogs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, and guinea pigs) so you don’t pass on mpox
  • not donate blood, cells, tissue, breast milk, semen, or organs.

Should I get the mpox vaccination?

You might be offered the mpox vaccination as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). This depends on your risk level and the time since you were exposed to mpox. Your PHU will let you know if you should be vaccinated and where you can get it.

What are the symptoms of mpox?

Symptoms can begin 7-14 days after exposure but can start earlier or take as long as 21 days to develop.

Some people get early symptoms such as:

  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches and back ache
  • chills
  • exhaustion
  • swollen lymph nodes.

Usual symptoms include:

  • rashes, pimple-like lesions or sores, particularly in areas that are hard to see such as the genitals, anus or buttocks
  • ulcers, lesions or sore in the mouth.

People with mpox are infectious from when they first get symptoms until all the lesions have crusted, the scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed underneath.

Most people with mpox get better within a few weeks without requiring any specific treatment.

What should I do if I get symptoms?

If you get symptoms of mpox, you should:

  • stay at home and avoid being around other people. If travelling home to self-isolate, go directly home, wear a surgical mask and cover any exposed lesions.
  • call your local sexual health clinic (SHC) and let them know you have been in contact with someone with mpox. Your SHC should be able to tell you what tests you may need.
  • call the PHU on 1300 066 055 as soon as possible
  • in an emergency call Triple Zero (000) right away and tell them you have been in contact with someone with mpox.

What should I do if I need to see my doctor or get tested?

If the PHU or your doctor asks you to get tested, you should:

  • wear a surgical mask
  • cover any exposed lesions
  • travel directly to and from the doctor, hospital or pathology centre
  • tell the staff that you are a contact of someone with mpox when you arrive.

Further information

Read the NSW Health mpox fact sheet or visit the NSW Health website.

For free help in your language, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50.

Current as at: Wednesday 22 November 2023
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW