Monkeypox can be spread through close contact with people or surfaces that have monkeypox virus. Book a monkeypox vaccine and learn what to do if you develop symptoms.

About monkeypox

Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox cases have been reported in Canada but the risk of exposure is low. Nova Scotia is working closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada to monitor the outbreak.

Generally, monkeypox does not spread easily between people, but anyone who has close contact with an infected person (including household members or sexual partners) is at risk of infection. People who have multiple or frequent anonymous sexual partners are at higher risk of infection.

Most reported infections are among men who identify as gay or bisexual, or men having sex with other men, but anyone can get monkeypox regardless of their sexuality.

Learn more: Monkeypox management and response (PDF)

How monkeypox spreads

Monkeypox can spread through:

  • close contact during sexual activity with an infected person
  • respiratory droplets (like coughs or sneezes) during face-to-face contact with an infected person
  • direct contact with sores (including scabs or sores that are healing)
  • contact with contaminated items like bedding or clothing

Monkeypox symptoms

Monkeypox symptoms usually develop 5 to 21 days after exposure to the virus and happen in two stages. People can experience symptoms differently.

The first stage of symptoms can include:

  • fever
  • chills
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • joint pain
  • back pain
  • exhaustion

The second stage of symptoms starts 1 to 3 days after the first stage and can include a rash or sores that usually starts on the face, legs or arms and can affect other parts of the body (including hands, feet, mouth and genitals).

Monkeypox sores can last 2 to 4 weeks. The sores will change appearance over time until they eventually form a scab and fall off.

If you have been exposed or become ill

Contact your healthcare provider or call 811 If you:

  • develop monkeypox symptoms
  • have come into contact with someone who has monkeypox

Public Health will contact all known contacts of cases.

If you have monkeypox, Public Health will provide you with guidance on self-isolation and monitoring.


Right now, people at highest risk of getting monkeypox can get 2 doses of the Imvamune vaccine in Nova Scotia before they are exposed. Imvamune is approved in Canada as a 2 dose vaccine series and can help protect against monkeypox. You need to wait at least 28 days between doses.

You can get the vaccine if you identify as a cisgender or transgender queer man, a two-spirit person or a non-binary person who has sexual contact with a cisgender or transgender queer man, a two-spirit person or a non-binary person, and you:

  • had 2 or more sexual partners since May 2022 (or are planning to)
  • have a diagnosis of a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (since May 2022)
  • attended, worked at or volunteered at a venue for sexual contact (like a bath house or sex club) since May 2022 (or are planning to)
  • had anonymous sex since May 2022 (or are planning to)
  • engaged in sex work as a worker or client since May 2022 (or are planning to)

You can also get the vaccine if you have sexual contact with someone who meets this criteria.

You can only get the vaccine if you live in Nova Scotia (including people who are living here for prolonged periods of time, like students). If you received 1 dose of the vaccine in another province, you can get a second dose in Nova Scotia.

Book an appointment

Right now, appointments are only available at 2 clinics (Halifax and Sydney).

Book now

If you need help booking an appointment, or if you don’t have a Nova Scotia Health Card, you can call 1 of the clinics.

Halifax Sexual Health Centre
Phone: 902-455-9656

Sydney Public Health Office
Phone: 902-563-2400