Monkeypox Outbreak Frequently Asked Questions

The College is providing this FAQ to the College community regarding the monkeypox outbreak, which was declared a public health emergency by the White House on August 4, 2022. Although the risk of getting monkeypox is low to the general public, and the College is not aware of any cases within the College community, it is still important to know about monkeypox symptoms, prevention, and steps to take if you get sick. 

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, respiratory symptoms, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.

How is monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox is spread through close personal (often skin-to-skin) contact, including direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluid from a person with monkeypox; touching objects or surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox; and contact with respiratory secretions of someone with monkeypox. Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection. It can be spread through both sexual contact and other close personal contact. Monkeypox is not as contagious as COVID-19.

What can I do to protect myself against monkeypox?

To help protect yourself against monkeypox, you can:

  • Avoid close, 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 has used.
  • Wash your hands often.

What should you do if you experience monkeypox symptoms?

If you are experiencing monkeypox symptoms, call your health care provider immediately. If you don’t have a health care provider you can also visit HRSA's Find a Health Center site to find a public health clinic.  While you wait to be seen by a health care provider, stay away from others. Do not come to campus until otherwise instructed by your health care provider. If you are positive for monkeypox, you will need to isolate until the rash heals, which typically takes two to four weeks. Your health care provider may recommend treatment.

What should I do about my classwork if I become sick with monkeypox?

If you are a student who becomes sick with monkeypox, you will need to isolate away from others and will not be able to come to campus. You should reach out to the Dean of Students as soon as possible to seek assistance in communicating with your instructors about ways to keep up with your work while you remain at home. Faculty are asked to be flexible with students who must isolate due to becoming ill with monkeypox.

What should I do if I am an employee who becomes sick with monkeypox?

Employees who become sick with monkeypox should inform Human Resources and their supervisor.  You should communicate with your supervisor about the need to isolate. You and your supervisor can discuss the possibility of working remotely while you isolate. Human Resources can also advise you on your leave options. 

What if someone who is positive for monkeypox visits campus while contagious?

If you test positive for monkeypox and were on campus while you were contagious, you should inform Human Resources if you are an employee, or the Dean of Students if you are a student, so that the College can take the appropriate next steps, including, for example, seeking guidance from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health; sanitizing any affected areas; and communicating as necessary with any other affected individuals. 

What should I do if I was exposed to monkeypox?

If you have been a close contact of someone infected with monkeypox, contact your doctor or the Philadelphia Department of Public Health as soon as possible to let them know. You may be a candidate for vaccination. Vaccination is most effective when administered as soon as possible after exposure. You should also monitor for symptoms. If you start to experience symptoms, contact your health care provider, get tested, and isolate away from others. 

Where can I find out more about monkeypox?

For up-to-date information about monkeypox, you can visit the websites for the Pennsylvania Department of Health; the Philadelphia Department of Public Health; or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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