Skip Navigation


Monkeypox is a contagious disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. At Atrium Health, we’re monitoring the current outbreak and reported cases of monkeypox in our region. Our experts are here to help you stay informed and get the care you need.


The most common symptom of monkeypox is a rash that goes through several stages. It starts as flat spots and turns into sores that can look like pimples or blisters.

The rash may be painful or itchy. It can appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus. Rectal pain can be a warning sign of monkeypox.

The virus can also cause flu-like symptoms that may begin a few days before the rash appears, including:
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpit or groin
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

You may experience all or only a few of the symptoms of monkeypox. Symptoms typically begin within 3 weeks of exposure and can appear in any order.

Monkeypox is generally a mild disease, though severe cases can occur. Young children and people who are pregnant, have a weakened immune system, or have a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema may be at higher risk for severe illness.

Monkeypox is contagious from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed completely and new skin has formed. In most cases, the illness lasts 2-4 weeks.


If you’re sick or were exposed to monkeypox and need testing or treatment, contact your healthcare provider or call our 24/7 Health Line at 704-468-8888. Avoid close contact with others until you’ve been cleared by a doctor.

Your doctor may start by ruling out other more common conditions that can cause similar symptoms. Then, a skin test can be used to diagnose monkeypox.

Many people fully recover from monkeypox on their own, without treatment. In some cases, over-the-counter and prescription medications can help manage symptoms. Your healthcare provider can give you care recommendations and, if needed, coordinate treatment for severe symptoms.

There are also vaccines that can help reduce the chance of infection and severity of symptoms in people who have been exposed or are at high risk of exposure to the virus. For more information about monkeypox vaccines, see our FAQ section.

Helpful resources

The spread of monkeypox is an evolving situation, and guidance may change. We’ll continue to share with our community as we learn more. For reliable information and updates, we recommend these local and national resources:

Frequently asked questions