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2022 Monkeypox Outbreak

University Health Services is closely monitoring the national monkeypox outbreak and is in contact with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

Anybody is at risk for monkeypox

We strongly encourage students to learn about monkeypox and take steps to protect themselves. Monkeypox is a viral infection primarily spread through prolonged close contact. It is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), and anybody can be at risk, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. The most common symptoms of monkeypox include fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes.  

There have been no deaths in the United States caused by the monkeypox virus, and individuals usually heal from the disease on their own without medical treatment. However, individuals with underlying health conditions may experience a more severe case of monkeypox, if contracted. 

  • University Health Services can test for monkeypox. Students who have symptoms of monkeypox should self-isolate and schedule an appointment through myUHS or call the 24/7 Advice Nurse at 814-865-4UHS (4847) and press 3. 
Symptoms of monkeypox

According to the CDC, individuals with monkeypox typically get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals or anus and could be on other areas of the body, including the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. Other symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and backache, headache, and respiratory symptoms like a sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough.  

Monkeypox often begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, a general feeling of discomfort, and exhaustion. Typically, within 1 to 3 days after the fever occurs, the patient develops a rash, often first on the face, but sometimes initially on other parts of the body. 

Students who are concerned about their risk for contracting monkeypox, can contact University Health Services or their healthcare provider. Students who experience any harassment or feel targeted in any way can reach out to Student Affairs offices: Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity or Counseling and Psychological Services for support or make a report at http://equity.psu.edu/reportbias.  

How Monkeypox Spreads  

Since monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), condoms do not guard against it, and it can be spread outside of sexual interactions. It can be contracted by all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. It spreads in four main ways:  

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs or body fluids 

  • Direct contact with respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sex 

  • Direct contact with objects or fabrics that previously touched the rash or body fluids of someone with monkeypox 

  • Being scratched or bitten by an infected animal (pets can be infected by monkeypox) 

The virus is contagious from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed, which can take 2-4 weeks.  

Protecting yourself from monkeypox

To protect against monkeypox, students and others should avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash. Other precautions include: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  

  • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox. 

  • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox. 

  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox. 

  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox. 

What to do if you contract monkeypox 

Students who develop symptoms of monkeypox should schedule an appointment with University Health Services through myUHS or call the 24/7 Advice Nurse at 814-865-4UHS (4847) and press 3. Commonwealth Campus students should visit their healthcare provider for next steps and testing.  

Students with an active rash or symptoms should self-isolate at home and stay in a separate room away from other people or pets when possible. Students who live on campus will be required to move into an isolation space. Since the isolation period can be up to four weeks, on-campus students should expect to make arrangements to complete their isolation at home. Student Affairs staff will work with individuals who are unable to travel. Because the monkeypox virus spreads through direct contact, faculty members will not be notified if a student in their class contracts the virus and must isolate. Students who must isolate are encouraged to discuss academic concerns with their individual instructor and/or academic advisers. 

Anyone who may have been in contact with a person with a case of monkeypox should monitor their health closely and contact Univesity Health Services or their healthcare provider to schedule an appointment if symptoms appear.  

Are monkeypox vaccines available for students?

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is overseeing the monkeypox vaccine supply and coordinating vaccinations for monkeypox. 

If a student thinks they've been exposed to monkeypox or participated in activities that may have put them at risk of exposure, they should contact University Health Services or their healthcare provider to help you evaluate their risk and direct them to the appropriate next steps. 

Anyone who may have been in contact with a person with a case of monkeypox should monitor their health closely, watch for telltale signs, and contact University Health Services to schedule an appointment if symptoms appear.  

Students who are concerned about their risk for contracting monkeypox, can contact University Health Services or their healthcare provider.

Students who experience any related bias or harassment may submit a report to Report Bias. For individual support related to bias or harassment, students can reach out to Student Affairs offices: Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity or Counseling and Psychological Services.  

Students are encouraged to discuss academic concerns with their individual instructor and/or academic advisors.

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