To our campus community,
PennWest is monitoring the latest information on monkeypox, an infectious disease that has been declared a public health emergency in the United States.
While it should be taken seriously as a public health threat, to date there have been no confirmed cases on our campuses. It’s important to stay calm, learn more about the virus, and follow the guidance of public health officials.
Below are questions and answers related to monkeypox. We will post these on the Health Center sites at California, Clarion and Edinboro and keep these pages updated with the latest information. More information about monkeypox is also available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While not spread easily, monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact including direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs or bodily fluids from an infected person; contact with respiratory secretions.
Research is ongoing to determine if the virus can be spread when someone has no symptoms.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Symptoms of monkeypox include a rash that may be located on the hands, feet, chest, face, mouth or genitals. Other symptoms can include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and backache, headache and respiratory symptoms.
Most patients experience mild illness and require no treatment.
How long do symptoms last?
Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure. If someone has flu-like symptoms, a rash will usually develop 1-4 days later.
How long is someone contagious?
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.
What should I do if I experience symptoms?
Stay home or in your room and isolate. Avoid close contact with others. Contact your healthcare provider. Students can contact their campus health center for evaluation.
For students living on campus, the residence life team will address each situation with care and caution to determine next steps.
When you see your healthcare provider, cover all skin rashes to the extent possible by wearing long sleeves or long pants. Disposable gloves should be worn to cover any rash on the hands. Also, wear a tight-fitting mask for source control.
Is there a vaccine for monkeypox?
Because monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, vaccines developed to protect against smallpox viruses may be used to prevent monkeypox infections.
The U.S. government has two stockpiled vaccines—JYNNEOS and ACAM2000—that can prevent monkeypox in people who are exposed to the virus.
In Pennsylvania, if you think you have been exposed, or if you have participated in activities that may have put you at risk of exposure, please contact your healthcare provider, your local health department, or 877-PA-HEALTH to help you evaluate your risk and tell you where to get a vaccine in Pennsylvania.
For the latest information on who should consider a vaccine for monkeypox, visit https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/vaccines.html
How can I prevent monkeypox?
- Avoid close contact, including sexual and skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox may have used (i.e. bedding, clothing, towels, utensils, and cups).
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
- Always talk to your sexual partner(s) about any recent illness and be aware of new or unexplained sores or rashes on your body or your partner’s body.
For questions about monkeypox, employees may contact Safety and Risk Management, firstname.lastname@example.org. Students may contact their campus health center:
We will continue to communicate with campus as new information becomes available.
The PennWest Emergency Preparedness Team