Monkeypox Information

Overview

Monkeypox is a disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Despite its name, the current global outbreak is not linked to monkeys or other primates. It spreads between people through close contact (e.g., direct physical contact with the infectious rash, including during intimate contact).

The risk of contracting Monkeypox 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).

Currently the virus is primarily spread through intimate or sexual contact. Anyone can get Monkeypox, but data indicates a higher rate of infection occurrence among men who report having had sexual contact with men. It is important to note that Monkeypox infection is not isolated to certain communities, and that all campus community members be informed of specific factors impacting the exposure to the virus.

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 appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.

If you develop symptoms consistent with monkeypox, please contact the Student Health Center, if a student, or your primary care provider, if a faculty or staff member.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do to prevent getting Monkeypox?

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
  • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
  • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
  • 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.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox? 

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, low energy, swollen lymph nodes and a skin rash or lesions (rash: begins within one to three days of the start of a fever; lesions: flat or slightly raised, filled with clear or yellowish fluid, and can then crust, dry up and fall off).

How is monkeypox transmitted?

Monkeypox can be transmitted through close physical contact with someone who has symptoms through direct skin to skin contact with rash, bodily fluid, pus, or blood from skin lesions and scabs.

According to the CDC, it can also be transmitted via respiratory secretion during prolonged, face-to-face contact (e.g., kissing). Pregnant women can transmit the virus to the fetus through the placenta.

 

Can I get monkeypox from touching things?

Monkeypox spreads in different ways. According to the CDC, it can also spread via touching items, such as clothing or linens, that previously were in contact with the infectious rash or body fluids. Individuals can also get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by an infected animal.

Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. Asymptomatic people cannot spread the virus.

What should I do if I think I have symptoms consistent with monkeypox?

If you think you have symptoms suggestive of monkeypox please isolate yourself immediately. Wear an N95 mask and cover your rash with clothing if you must come in contact with anyone.

Please try to avoid going to any clinics or healthcare facilities in person without notifying them ahead of time, by phone or via a telehealth visit, that you want to be evaluated for monkeypox.

If any of these symptoms are present, and you are a student, reach out to the Student Health Center (202-806-7540) right away.

If you are a faculty or staff or member, please reach out to your primary care physician.

Does Howard provide the monkeypox vaccine to eligible students or staff? 

At this time, only the DC government is able to administer the monkeypox vaccine. The vaccine is not currently available for administration by universities.

To learn more about eligibility requirements and to pre-register for a vaccine appointment, please visit the DC Department of Health website.

The DC government currently offers the JYNNEOS vaccine. Please be aware that supplies are limited.

 

Is there a test for monkeypox? Where will I get tested?

An infection caused by the monkeypox virus should be confirmed via a test. A clinician will collect a few samples from your lesion(s) and send it to the DC Department of Health’s Public Health lab for processing or another outside lab. Results can take at least 24 hours to be reported. If you are a student, you can get tested at the Student Health Center.

If you are a faculty or staff member, please inquire about testing with your primary care physician. Not all clinics are equipped and able to offer monkeypox testing at this time.

What happens if I am diagnosed with monkeypox and live on campus?

If you are diagnosed with monkeypox you will have to go into isolation, which can last for approximately 21 days. The Student Health Center team will provide guidance on when to end isolation and can assist students living on campus with symptom monitoring.

If you are diagnosed with monkeypox outside of Howard we request that you let the student health team know at shcscreening@howard.edu

Does Howard University conduct contact tracing for monkeypox?

Contact tracing (the process of determining who you came in contact with, when, where, and the extent and nature of that close contact) is carried out by the DC Department of Health.

What happens if my roommate is diagnosed with monkeypox?

If your roommate has a known or suspected infection, please reach out to the Student Health Center. The room will be thoroughly cleaned and the roommate will be place in isolation. Call the student health center if you develop symptoms.