Monkeypox: What you need to know
Below, you will find information and resources regarding the monkeypox virus, as well as information on how PTC is preparing to respond in the event of cases on campus.
What is monkeypox?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, part of the family of viruses that causes smallpox. It is not, however, related to chickenpox. Two main strains of the monkeypox virus are known to exist; the milder strain is currently circulating. The disease is rarely fatal, and more than 99% of infected individuals survive.
Monkeypox may begin with flu-like symptoms—fever, low energy, swollen lymph nodes and general body aches. Within one to three days (sometimes longer) after onset of fever, a person may develop a rash or sores. People with monkeypox may experience all, only a few, or none of these symptoms. Symptoms typically start within 3 to 17 days of exposure and can last 2 to 4 weeks.
How is monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox spreads primarily through close personal and prolonged contact during activities like kissing, hugging, massaging, cuddling and sex—especially when there is direct exposure to infectious rashes, sores, scabs or body fluids. The monkeypox virus can spread by contact with materials used by a person with monkeypox that haven’t been cleaned, such as clothing and bedding. It can also spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, close contact. Monkeypox is not spread through casual brief conversations or walking by someone with monkeypox.
How do I avoid or prevent infection?
The CDC’s website provides several steps individuals can take to prevent the spread of monkeypox including:
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have monkeypox or a rash that looks like monkeypox.
- Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
- 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.
Please review the CDC’s recommended preventative steps and follow recommendations to protect yourself and others.
What should I do if I have been exposed or am experiencing symptoms?
If you have symptoms or are concerned about an exposure, contact your primary care provider. Students can schedule an appointment through Student Health Services, Monday-Friday. Appointments are encouraged. If you have symptoms or are concerned about an exposure and are coming to Health and Wellness Center please call before coming into the office. Faculty and staff are encouraged to call their health providers or the PTC Health and Wellness Center on campus.
Is there a vaccine?
Yes. The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who are at high risk to get monkeypox. The preferred vaccine to protect against monkeypox is JYNNEOS, which is a two-dose vaccine.
All Pennsylvania Health Departments have access to JYNNEOS vaccines and are following the state vaccination strategy. In Allegheny County, the __________is the nearest facility where the vaccine is available to those identified at highest risk.
How is the campus preparing?
As we have done during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, PTC will continue to monitor cases and make necessary recommendations and plans to mitigate any risk for our campus community.
There are plans for isolation spaces for students living on campus who contract monkeypox and need to self-isolate until the infectious period has passed. PTC continues to work closely with the Allegheny Health Department to keep the campus prepared, informed and healthy.
We understand that news of a new infectious disease after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic can be concerning and may result in feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. The PTC Counseling Center has several resources available for those who need support. Students may call Dr. Stephanie Svilar at ____to speak tor visit the Health and Wellness Center and our College Website for more information. Faculty and staff may also seek support through PTC’s Employee Assistance Program.
For additional information, please visit the Allegheny Health Department, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services and/or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We will continue to communicate with the campus as we have new information to share.