We are closely monitoring the spread of monkeypox and working collaboratively with our public health experts at both the Baltimore City Health Department and Maryland Department of Public Health. We will remain updated on current guidance and recommendations so that we can best guide our response to this virus and keep our campus community safe.
Monkeypox, while rare, is not a new virus like COVID-19. It typically is self-limiting and resolves on it’s own, rarely proving to be fatal. Prior to 2022, the majority of cases were reported in central/west African countries and outbreaks beyond these regions have thankfully been small. To follow the updated cases throughout the US, you can access this map of monkeypox cases from the CDC which is updated regularly.
While monkeypox is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection, it is generally spread through prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person (which can include sexual intimacy). Anyone can contract monkeypox regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Prolonged face-to-face contact , as well as touching contaminated fabrics and objects (i.e. towels, bedding) can also result in transmission. Please note that you cannot contract monkeypox from brief time spent with infected individuals (i.e. walking outside, short conversations, etc).
Signs and Symptoms
The main symptom people exhibit with monkeypox is a rash that may be located on or near the genitals, but could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. The rash initially looks like pimples or blisters that can be painful or itchy. These bumps will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
Other symptoms of monkeypox can include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle aches and backache
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please contact our office at 410-617-5055 so one of our health care providers can best guide your concerns.
Exposure and Testing
Per CDC recommendations, individuals who have come in contact with someone who has monkeypox do not need to quarantine. However, they should closely monitor for signs and symptoms of monkeypox, especially in cases of high-risk exposure, for 21 days from their last day of encounter with infected individual
With regards to testing, individuals who suspect they may have monkeypox can only be tested if they have an active rash, blister or lesion. These areas can be swabbed and sent for testing to outside lab. Testing is available at our office, but again, is only pertinent to those exhibiting physical rash. If you are experiencing a rash as described, please contact our office at 410-617-5055, your primary care provider, or a local clinic to be tested.
People infected with monkeypox are required to isolate until lesions are fully healed and new skin is developing which could last a period of 2 to 4 weeks. Students who are infected with monkeypox must isolate until cleared to return by Student Health Services after consultation with their primary care provider or local health department. Residential students who have monkeypox will be relocated to isolation space on campus until they are able to be released from isolation. Given that isolation spaces on campus are extremely limited, students will be encouraged to move home due to the length of the isolation period and the prolonged care needed for those who are infected.
CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox. Unfortunately, vaccines are in limited supply and currently distributed by local health departments, which determine who is eligible to receive a vaccine. We currently cannot administer monkeypox vaccines at Loyola. Information about vaccine appointments and eligibility in Baltimore City are available on the Baltimore City Health Department website.
Before going to a gathering or event, consider how much close, personal, skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur. Adhering to the steps listed below is also helpful for monkeypox prevention.
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have rashes/sores
- Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used
- Hand hygiene - washing hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer, especially before eating, after using the bathroom or touching your face.
- Talk with your sexual partner(s) about symptoms before contact.
For more information and updates on monkeypox, we suggest visiting the CDC's monkeypox page specific for college-aged population as well as the CDC main monkeypox website.