What You Need To Know About Monkeypox
The current risk of getting monkeypox is very low for the general public, but it’s still good for everyone to know the facts about the symptoms, prevention and what to do if you get sick.
The symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. While not everyone needs a vaccine, vaccines and treatments are already available across the state. Most patients experience mild illness and require no treatment.
Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion or cough)
- A rash that may be located on or near the genitals or anus, but could also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face or mouth.
- The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing in 2 to 4 weeks.
- The rash can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
You may experience all or only a few symptoms.
Monkeypox spreads in a few ways.
Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
- Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
- Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
- Contact with respiratory secretions.
This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:
- Prolonged face-to-face contact.
- Hugging, massage and kissing.
- Any form of sexual activity.
- Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not yet been disinfected.
Learn more about lowering the risk of monkeypox during sex — see the CDC’s recommendations.
It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.
Scientists are still researching:
- If the virus can be spread when someone has no symptoms.
- How often monkeypox is spread through respiratory secretions, or when a person with monkeypox symptoms might be more likely to spread the virus through respiratory secretions.
- Whether monkeypox can be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine or feces.
Protocol for Students and Employees
Appointments to discuss concerns regarding monkeypox are available now at the SU Student Health Center, and testing is available when appropriate. If you are eligible, and there are adequate supplies, the health center can guide you on how to obtain a post-exposure vaccine.
If you notice a new or unexplained rash or other monkeypox symptoms:
- Students must call the SU Student Health Center at 570–372–4385 during normal business hours; or dial the on-call nurse triage service toll-free at 1–844–936–1731 after business hours. Students will be instructed on testing and next steps.
- Students with an active rash or symptoms must self-isolate at home. Students who live on campus will be required to move into an isolation space — and because the isolation period can be up to four weeks, students should expect to make arrangements to complete their isolation at home. Student Life staff will work with individuals who are unable to travel.
- Students who must isolate are responsible for contacting their professors and discussing academic concerns. The university can notify professors about a potentially lengthy absence but cannot disclose protected health information.
- Faculty and staff should contact their healthcare provider for testing or other next steps. Employees who test positive must isolate at home and make arrangements to work remotely, if possible, or utilize sick time until their isolation period has concluded.
Information on this page was shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.