1/ What is monkeypox and how does it spread?

Monkeypox is a disease caused by the infection of monkeypox virus which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. Monkeypox virus can spread from person-to-person through:

  • direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sexual intercourse
  • items that have been in contact with the infectious rash or body fluids, for example, clothing or linens
  • the placenta of pregnant women to the unborn child

It can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The incubation period is usually from 6 to 13 days, with a range of 5 to 21 days. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Individuals infected may be contagious from a day before the rash appears and up to 21 days after the initial symptoms, or until all skin lesions have formed scabs.

2/ What are the signs and symptoms?

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Rash
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

The rash looks like lesions with a flat base or slightly raised firm lesions. It appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.

The rash goes through different stages before it is healed completely, and typically lasts for 2-4 weeks. Lesions are often described as painful until the healing phase when they become itchy (crusts).

3/ How can we prevent monkeypox?

To prevent monkeypox, we should:

  • Avoid close physical contact with sick persons or animals
  • Wear protective clothing and equipment when taking care of ill people or handling animals
  • Carry out regular hand washing
  • Thoroughly cook all animal products before eating

For any suspicious symptoms, seek medical advice promptly.

4/ Is there a vaccine for monkeypox?

It has been shown that the smallpox vaccine may also be effective in preventing monkeypox. A new vaccine called "JYNNEOS" was licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the protection of monkeypox in 2019. Hong Kong launched a vaccination programme for JYNNEOS in early October 2022.

It is recommended that the vaccine should be given to people who have been exposed to confirmed cases as well as high-risk groups of people who have not yet been exposed to the virus, including:

  • People with high-risk sexual practices e.g. multiple sexual partners, sex workers, history of sexually transmitted infection in the past 12 months
  • Healthcare workers caring for confirmed cases
  • Laboratory personnel working with zoonotic pox viruses
  • Animal care personnel with high-risk of exposure in case of monkeypox occurrence in animals in Hong Kong.

For more information, check out the monkeypox fact sheet.

5/ Is there a big concern for the general public in Hong Kong

In September 2022, Hong Kong recorded its first imported monkeypox case but no further outspread of the case was reported.

6/ Is treatment available at the moment?

There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox virus infections. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.

7/ What has Matilda Hospital done to prepare for it?

Knowledge-sharing materials are made to heighten the alert of our colleagues and information will be shared with patients via different communication means. Should there be any suspicious cases, the hospital will report the case to the Centre for Health Protection for infection control and prevention.

If you have any questions or want to book an appointment with our doctors, call us at 2537 8500 (Central) /2849 1500 (the Peak). or simply make a booking online:



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, June 24). Monkeypox. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html

Centre for Health Protection. (2022, September 26). Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health - Monkeypox. Centre for Health Protection.
Retrieved 5 October, 2022, from https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/105683.html

The Government of HKSAR. (2022, June 17). Scientific committees under CHP issue consensus interim recommendations on use of COVID-19 vaccine and monkeypox vaccine in Hong Kong.
Retrieved June 27, 2022, from https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202206/17/P2022061700456.htm

Written by: Infection Control Committee Matilda International Hospital