Monkeypox Frequently Asked Questions
Monkeypox is a virus that causes flu-like symptoms and a rash. The virus, discovered in 1958, is related to smallpox. Unlike COVID-19, it is not a new virus, and several features make it likely to be far less dangerous. Researchers have studied monkeypox for decades, and essential information is already available.
Typically, the early symptoms of monkeypox are flu-like and include fever, fatigue, headache, and enlarged lymph nodes, although these symptoms may not be present in some individuals. A unique rash appears a few days later that starts as small, flat spots and progresses to tiny blisters, then to larger pus-filled blisters on various parts of the body. These can take several weeks to scab over.
Skin-to-skin contact remains the most common mode of transmission currently. Monkeypox is spread through prolonged close skin-to-skin contact. It can also spread through kissing or an exchange of respiratory secretions. Sometimes, contact with shared bedding or towels can spread the virus.
In most cases, the illness will self-resolve in 4-6 weeks and may not require treatment. Antivirals may be used for more severe cases.
- The University is committed to following the guidance of the Chester County (PA) Health Department and the CDC. In keeping with this guidance, students who contract monkeypox must self-isolate off campus, because a private bathroom is required.
- If a home is not available, the University will work with the student to assist in making appropriate off-campus arrangements.
- The University is committed to working with the student to establish a plan that will assist them in completing the semester remotely.
The current risk of monkeypox to the general population is low, though anyone can get monkeypox. People with monkeypox in the current outbreak generally report having close, sustained physical contact with other people who have monkeypox. Avoid close contact with anyone who is ill or has a rash, and don’t share or handle clothing, bedding, or towels with them.
Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection. However, like many other viruses, it can be passed on during sex. When it comes to sexual transmission of monkeypox, talk to your partner about any recent illness and be aware of new or unexplained rashes on your body or your partner’s body, including the genitals and anus. If you or your partner have recently been sick, currently feel sick, or have a new or an unexplained rash, do not have sex and see a healthcare provider. Please note that traditional barrier methods are not adequate for preventing the transmission of monkeypox. You can also view information related to considerations for safer sex and gatherings.
A person with monkeypox is infectious until all lesions have crusted over and new skin has formed. If you know someone with monkeypox, avoid sharing or handling fabrics like clothing, towels, or blankets; any sexual activity; kissing; cuddling; or sharing eating utensils or cups.
For information related to considerations for cleaning and disinfecting including laundry and other cleaning, please visit the CDC website.
Effective vaccines do exist for monkeypox. The vaccine is currently recommended as Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) for those who have had direct contact with someone who has monkeypox. At the present time, the CDC is not recommending widespread vaccination against monkeypox.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has established Monkeypox Vaccine administration framework for immunizations.
Monkeypox is usually contagious after symptoms begin, which can help limit its spread. One reason COVID-19 spread so quickly was people could spread it before they knew they had it. Since monkeypox doesn’t spread as quickly as COVID-19 does, it may be less likely to cause a pandemic.
Students who develop an unexpected rash or skin lesions should isolate immediately and call (do not visit) Student Health Services at 610-436-2509 or their healthcare provider immediately. Students should also contact Student Health Services if they are concerned about a potential exposure. Employees should consult their health care provider.
To learn more about monkeypox, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.