KSC understands that the news of a new health outbreak, especially considering our last few years, can produce feelings of anxiety, fear and uncertainty. We in The Wellness Center are here to support you during this time. We will continue to update the website periodically to reflect the most accurate information available as more information about monkeypox and its public health impact becomes available in the coming weeks and months.
What is Monkeypox (MPV)?
Monkeypox (MPV) is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. The most recent outbreak of MPV was identified in May 2022 and has since spread globally. The United States has the highest case rates and presently is in all 50 states. Health experts are concerned about MPX because of the sudden increase in cases. MPV is rarely fatal and most healthy individuals will not get seriously ill or die. Symptoms often improve within a few weeks after developing symptoms. However, people with a weakened immune system, children under 8 years old, people with a history of eczema, and pregnant or breastfeeding women may be more likely to get seriously ill or die.
What are the symptoms of MPV?
Symptoms will usually start between 5 and 13 days after a person is infected with the virus. Some people have a few days of feeling sick, similar to the flu. Symptoms might include fever, headache, feeling very tired and achy, and swollen lymph nodes. After a few days a rash appears and can vary in appearance:
- It can look like pimples or blisters. It starts as a few small spots, then more can appear
- Some people have first noted a rash in their genital or anal area
- The rash can also affect the face, inside of the mouth, hands, feet, and other parts of the body
- The bumps can swell with fluid, then pop. Then, they dry up and form scabs which will eventually fall off.
- The rash can be painful, then turn more itchy during the scabbed phase.
When is someone with MPV contagious?
A person with MPV can spread their infection starting when they first develop symptoms, and they remain contagious until their rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. People who do not have MPV symptoms are not considered contagious or a risk to others. MPV is not as contagious as the virus that causes COVID-19. You are not likely to get it by being near someone unless you have direct contact with their skin, or are face-to-face for a long time. Briefly talking to someone or being in the same room with a person who has MPV is unlikely to cause infection.
How is MPV spread?
Monkeypox is spread through close, personal, often prolonged skin-to-skin contact. This can happen through:
- Touching an infected person’s rash, scabs, or body fluids- This seems to be the main way the infection is spreading during the outbreak. In many cases this is happening thought sexual activity. Experts are presently studying if this can also spread through semen or vaginal fluids.
- Touching something that has touched an infection person- For example, if fluid from a person’s rash gets on clothing, bedding, or sex toys, it is possible for the infection to spread to others who touch these items.
- Through tiny droplets from the lungs- The infection can spread in this way if people are face-to-face, for example kissing or cuddling, for a long time. It is important to note that MPV is NOT a sexually transmitted infection, however, given close contact during sexual activity there is a higher rate of transmission during such activity if someone is positive.
Who is at risk for MPV?
Anyone can get MPV if they have close contact with an infected individual. While presently the population currently at the highest risk includes gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, it is important to recognize that no matter one’s gender, identity, sexual orientation, or sex practices are, anyone can contract MPV. Thinking of MPV as something that only affects certain people or groups is inaccurate and harmful.
What should a person do if they have a new or unexplained rash or other symptoms?
- Avoid hugging, kissing, cuddling, or having sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked out at H&W or other healthcare provider.
- Avoid touching any rash. Do not share personal items like towels, sex toys, and toothbrushes.
- Talk with your partner(s) about your symptoms. If you have any symptoms of concern, speak to your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has MPV.
How can I prevent spreading MPV?
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like MPV.
- Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with MPV 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.
Is there a test for MPV?
Yes. If your provider thinks you might have MPV, they will use a swab to take a sample of fluid from your rash. Presently, there is no test available for symptoms prior to the development of the rash.
What should I do if I have symptoms or am exposed to MPV?
If you had close contact with someone who had MPV, you should also tell your provider, even if you don’t have symptoms. You should monitor for symptoms for up to 21 days after an exposure. You do not need to quarantine, but should isolate if symptoms develop and seek health care evaluation as below.
Students: KSC students who have been exposed to someone with monkeypox or who are experiencing symptoms should contact their personal health care provider or call The Wellness Center for further guidance at 603-358-2200.
Faculty and Staff: KSC faculty and staff who have been exposed to someone with monkeypox or who are experiencing symptoms should contact their personal health care provider as soon as possible.
What do I do if I test positive?
- Follow guidance from your health care provider or The Wellness Center.
- Isolation is between 14-28 days. Students living on campus must isolate at home if you have tested positive.
- Wear a face mask and avoid direct contact with others until rashes or scabs clear and a new layer of skin forms.
- Stay home and follow CDC isolation guidance.
- Students should notify faculty of their absence and reach out to the Dean of Students office at firstname.lastname@example.org if academic support is needed.
Are there treatments available?
Most individuals with MPV will not get seriously ill, and generally do not require treatment. There are some antiviral therapies available for individuals that may be at higher risk for severe illness, like patients with a weakened immune system.
Is there a vaccine for MPV?
While there are effective vaccines against monkeypox, supplies are limited at this time and the CDC recommends vaccination if someone is exposed to MPV. If you’re eligible to receive the monkeypox vaccine, your healthcare provider can help get you vaccinated or refer you to a location that can get you vaccinated. If you do not have a healthcare provider, or if your healthcare provider cannot help provide it, please call the NH Department of Health and Human Services (NHDHHS) at (603) 271-4496 or 1-844-ASK-DHHS (1-844-275-3447).