Colleges offer guidance and protocols – NBC Boston

As the hustle and bustle of campus life picks up at area schools, viruses are still a problem students must contend with.

After two and a half years of COVID-19, monkeypox could also be a problem.

“Just because it doesn’t spread as easily as COVID doesn’t mean it’s talked about,” said Jules Stureman, a Boston University senior. “People don’t panic that much, it’s not like you go to class and have a high risk of getting it.”

Many schools like Tufts, Harvard, BU and UMass Amherst all tell students if they have monkeypox that they should self-isolate.

Boston University is offering students private rooms and bathrooms if they have a confirmed case.

The UMass campuses in Amherst and Boston are among the schools offering testing for the virus.

UMass Boston said all school clinicians have taken courses in the diagnosis and treatment of monkeypox.

“It’s really too soon to tell if schools are doing enough,” said Rachel Cox, a professor at MGH’s Health Professions Institute.

She said there are things schools should be doing to make sure monkeypox doesn’t disrupt the fall semester, including COVID-like cleaning and sanitation protocols, providing access to tests, vaccines and medicines, and provide places of isolation without adding stigma.

“He must be unidentifiable,” Cox said. “It couldn’t be like a monkeypox dormitory for example. There should be no tags associated with it in order to respect the privacy of the students.”

What is monkey pox?

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958, when outbreaks occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research – hence its name.

The first case in a human was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which still has the majority of infections. Other African countries where it has been found: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone.

Human monkeypox symptoms are similar to but milder than smallpox symptoms, the CDC says. It presents as a flu-like illness with swollen lymph nodes and a rash on the face and body.

Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion. Monkeypox also causes swelling of the lymph nodes, which smallpox does not. The incubation period is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.

The CDC urges healthcare providers in the US to be mindful of patients with rashes compatible with monkey poxwhether they have traveled or have specific monkeypox risks. See more information on the travel advisory here.

How do you catch monkey pox?

The CDC issued new monkeypox guidance earlier this month as the number of suspected cases nationwide soared, marking the largest outbreak of monkeypox in America, which has generally been confined to other continents.

While the The CDC says the risk to the general public remains low, people are urged to avoid close contact with sick people, including those with skin or genital lesions, as well as sick or dead animals. Anyone with symptoms, such as a rash or unexplained sores, should contact their healthcare professional for advice.

What to do if you think you have monkeypox

Anyone with a rash that looks like monkey pox should talk to their health care provider, even if they don’t think they have been in contact with someone with monkeypox. According to the CDC, people who may be at higher risk may include, but are not limited to, those who:

  1. Has been in contact with someone who had a rash resembling monkeypox or someone diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox
  2. Had skin-to-skin contact with someone on a social network that has monkeypox-related activity, this includes men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, app or a social event
  3. Traveled outside of the United States to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity is ongoing
  4. Has been in contact with a dead or alive wild animal or exotic pet that only exists in Africa or has used a product derived from these animals

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Human monkeypox symptoms are similar to but milder than smallpox symptoms, the CDC says. It presents as a flu-like illness with swollen lymph nodes and a rash on the face and body.

Monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion. Monkeypox also causes swelling of the lymph nodes, which smallpox does not. The incubation period is usually 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days.

The CDC urges healthcare providers in the US to be mindful of patients with rashes compatible with monkey poxwhether they have traveled or have specific monkeypox risks. See more information on the travel advisory here.


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