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Information About Monkeypox
- Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the Monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and Monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox. For more information about Monkeypox, please visit this CDC website.
It is usually transmitted through close, personal contact with someone who has the disease. The risk of contracting this infection is very low for those who have been in casual, rather than close, contact with an infected individual (e.g., being in the same room). The virus can spread from person-to-person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids, respiratory secretions or droplets during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex and touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids and infected pets. People who do not have Monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.
Monkeypox is not as easily transmissible as influenza, COVID, or chicken pox. However, measures should be taken by anyone in close contact with a Monkeypox-infected individual.
Symptoms of Monkeypox can include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on various parts of the body like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. Symptoms appear one to two weeks after you have been exposed to the infection. For most people, the illness lasts for 2-4 weeks and causes a mild illness. For more information about Monkeypox, please visit this CDC website.
You can take steps to prevent getting Monkeypox and lower your risk during intimacy.
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like Monkeypox which are blister like lesions.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of another person.
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with suspected Monkeypox.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with others.
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with Monkeypox.
- Limit your number of sex partners to reduce the possibility of exposure. Having multiple or anonymous sex partners may increase your chances for exposure to Monkeypox.
- Men having sex with men (MSM) is a risk factor.
- Practice safe sex, including the use of condoms and dental dams. Condom use 100% of the time is essential regardless of PreP therapy.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers/cleaners are also effective.
If you are a student and you suspect you may have Monkeypox, have a new rash and have risk factors such as having had close personal contact with someone who has Monkeypox, contact Student Health Services at (631) 632-6740 or your health care provider. The physician will evaluate your symptoms and inform you about next steps, including isolation precautions. Do not engage in intimacy, attend in-person classes, work or social events until you have been evaluated by a health care provider. If you need to speak to a medical professional after hours or on weekends, you can contact TimelyCare, our new virtual healthcare service, available 24/7 and free of charge for all students.
If you are faculty/staff, contact your healthcare provider.
According to CDC guidelines, people with monkeypox should remain isolated at home or at another location for the duration of illness. The isolation period for Monkeypox is 2-3 weeks.
Leaving campus to isolate at home is strongly encouraged. Should you not be able to return home to isolate due to extenuating circumstances, we have limited isolation spaces available on campus. During this period, we will provide care for you, but you cannot attend in-person classes or activities. You can continue to participate in online classes as long as you feel well enough to do so.
The CDC does not recommend widespread vaccination against Monkeypox at this time. The health department is distributing vaccination to areas with the highest case rates of Monkeypox. The allocation system takes into account the number of individuals at risk for Monkeypox who also have pre-existing conditions such as HIV. However, Student Health Services has consulted with our local health department and is prepared to provide vaccinations to our campus community if such action is advised at a later date.
For more information about this disease, please visit the Monkeypox CDC website.