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Student Health Services

Monkeypox

We will keep this page updated as more resources and information become available – particularly regarding testing and vaccine access. Appointments to discuss concerns regarding monkeypox are available now at Redfern Health Center, and testing is available in accordance with SC-DHEC guidelines.

Monkeypox is a rare infection caused by the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox was declared a national public health emergency on August 4, 2022 and is currently spreading around the United States. Here are several things to keep in mind.

  • How it Spreads

    Everyone is susceptible to monkeypox. A person with monkeypox is contagious from the start of symptoms until the rash has fully healed and a new layer of skin has formed. The contagious stage usually lasts about 2-4 weeks. People who do not have symptoms cannot spread the virus.

    The monkeypox virus spreads mainly through close intimate contact with others. However, there are several ways that the virus can spread:

    • Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs or bodily fluids
    • Respiratory secretions (with either long face-to-face contact or intimate physical contact, like kissing, cuddling or sex)
    • Touching items that previously touched the infectious rash or bodily fluids (clothes, linens, etc.)
    • To a fetus via placenta in pregnant people

    It is also possible to contract monkeypox from infected animals via a scratch, bite, or preparing/consuming meat or products of an infected animal.

  • Who Is at Risk

    Anyone who has close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk of infection (see “How it Spreads”).

    At this point in the current outbreak, the public health data show that rates of infection are higher in some populations than others. It is important to note that transmission is related to behavior, not identities. View "Available Vaccinations" below to see if you may be eligible for the vaccine.

    What Gay and Bisexual Men Need to Know About MPX (DHEC)

  • What to Do If You Get the Flu

    It is expected that most people will recover without needing medical care.

    If you have severe illness or you are at high risk for flu complications, contact Redfern or another health-care provider to get medical care. If Redfern is closed, see after-hours/urgent care options. There are drugs your doctor may prescribe for treating the flu called "antivirals." If started within two days of becoming sick, antiviral drugs can lessen symptoms and help prevent serious complications. 

    • If you are sick, you should stay home and limit contact with other people, except to seek medical care. The CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines. Some people with influenza will not have fever; therefore, absence of fever does not mean absence of infection. Isolate yourself during this time period even if you are taking antiviral drugs for treatment of the flu.

    • If you leave the house to seek medical care, wear a facemask, if available and tolerable. Always cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. In general, you should avoid contact with other people as much as possible to keep from spreading your illness.

    • If you are sick and sharing common spaces with other household members, wear a facemask if available to help prevent spreading the virus to others.

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze.

    Seek a medical provider if you have one or more of the following:

    • A temperature higher than 100.4F

    • Symptoms that last more than 10 days

    • Symptoms that are severe or unusual

    For additional information and advice about the flu, please see CDC Influenza (Flu).

  • Signs and Symptoms
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Muscle aches and backache
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Chills
    • Exhaustion
    • Rash (may be painful and/or itchy and can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body, including the hands, feet, chest, genitals and anus)

    Symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. The rash goes through different stages before healing completely, but it typically lasts 2-4 weeks. The rash can come first and be followed by other symptoms, or the rash can present solely on its own. If someone has flu-like symptoms (typically a fever), they usually develop the rash about 1-4 days later.

    There are photo examples of the rash on CDC’s website.

    Newborns, children and people with immune deficiencies are at higher risk for developing severe symptoms, including skin infections, pneumonia, confusion, eye infections (which can lead to loss of vision) or even death.

  • Flu Prevention Tips
    • Get a flu shot

    • Avoid touching face (eyes, nose, mouth)

    • Avoid close contact with sick persons

    • Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer

    • Get plenty of sleep

    • Exercise regularly

    • Manage stress levels

    The CDC recommends a yearly seasonal flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu. While there are many different flu viruses, the seasonal flu vaccine protects against the main seasonal flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. The seasonal flu vaccine can protect you from getting sick from these viruses, or it can make your illness milder if you get a related flu virus. The seasonal flu vaccine will provide protection against the H1N1 influenza as well.

  • Prevention

    To avoid getting monkeypox:

    • Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that appears to be monkeypox. This includes:
      • No touching the rash or scabs of someone with monkeypox.
      • No cuddling, kissing or having sex with someone with monkeypox.
      • No sharing eating utensils, cups, linens or clothes with someone with monkeypox.
    • Do not handle or touch the linens, clothing, bedding, towels or other materials of someone with monkeypox.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and/or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.
    • Wear a mask if you have to be near an infected person.
    • Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus.

    Consider your plans before you go – will there be a lot of skin-to-skin contact where you’re going? Lower risk events include those where people are fully clothed and avoiding skin-to-skin contact.

  • If You Are Sick With Monkeypox or Think You May Be Sick
    • Consult with your health care provider.
    • Isolate at home – stay in a separate room or away from people and animals that you live with (when possible) if you have an active rash and/or other symptoms.

     

    To help treat your rash:

    • Avoid scratching your skin.
    • Keep the skin dry and uncovered.
      • If you need to leave the isolation area, wear a well-fitting disposable mask over your nose and mouth, and cover any skin lesions with long pants and long sleeves, bandages, or a sheet or gown.
    • Clean the skin with sterilized water or antiseptics.
    • Take a warm bath with baking soda or Epsom salts for lesions.
    • For lesions in the mouth, use a saltwater rinse (like you would for canker sores).
  • Available Vaccinations

    Vaccination is recommended for those who have been exposed to someone with monkeypox or are at high risk of being exposed to someone with monkeypox. This includes:

    • Those identified by public health officials as a contact of someone with monkeypox.
    • People who may have been exposed, including:
      • Those who are aware of a sexual partner that was diagnosed with monkeypox in the past two weeks.
      • Those who have had multiple sexual partners in the last two weeks in an area with known monkeypox cases.
    • People whose jobs may expose them to orthopoxviruses (testing, handling cultures/animals with orthopoxviruses, some designated healthcare/public health workers).

    The Jynneos vaccine is available through DHEC clinics to those most at risk of exposure. Eligible individuals can call the DHEC CareLine (855-472-3432) to find out if they are eligible to schedule an appointment. DHEC also has a webpage that allows you to see locations of providers that have received monkeypox vaccines within the state of South Carolina The vaccine is not recommended for the general public or healthcare workers right now.

  • Other Facts
    • Monkeypox is not new.
    • Monkeypox is closely related to smallpox, but less severe.
    • Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease (can spread from animal-to-human and human-to-human).
    • Monkeypox is not as contagious as COVID-19, but the isolation period is longer (2-4 weeks).
    • Monkeypox is endemic in rainforest areas of central and west Africa.
    • Some new cases have not been linked directly to travel to these endemic areas, which is unusual.
  • Resources
Student getting check-up at Redfern
Student Health Services
Student Health Services | Redfern Health Center, 735 McMillan Road, Clemson, SC 29634