Information on Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder. 

Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox or hand, foot, and mouth disease.

Am I at risk?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox does not spread easily between people without close contact, which includes direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or bodily fluids from a person with monkeypox. Although monkeypox is most often spread through skin-to-skin contact, it can also be spread through respiratory droplets and by touching objects, fabrics, and surfaces that have been contaminated with the fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox.

The risk of contracting this infection is very low for those who have been in casual, rather than close, contact with an infected individual (e.g., being in the same room). 

Additionally, the risk of monkeypox spreading widely throughout the Notre Dame community remains low. However, anyone who has direct contact with an infected person can become sick with monkeypox.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Monkeypox is often characterized by a new, unexplained rash that develops into hard, round, fluid- or pus-filled skin lesions that can look like pimples or blisters. The rash may be located on or near the genitals or anus but can also be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or inside of the mouth.

Additional early symptoms of monkeypox often include a fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion.

People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

If you are experiencing a rash and other flu-like symptoms, please contact University Health Services to be tested for monkeypox.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact, including intimate contact, with someone who has a rash or other symptoms for monkeypox.
  • Do not share objects like bedding, towels, clothing, cups, or utensils with someone who has monkeypox.

How long are people with monkeypox contagious?

A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks.

Can I be vaccinated against monkeypox?

Vaccine supplies to prevent monkeypox are still very limited, and UHS does not have the vaccine on campus. However, students who have started the two-dose series before coming to campus can finish the series through the St. Joseph County Department of Health.

How can I get tested?

UHS is committed to caring for the whole student, providing medical counsel and services to students who are sexually active. Do not hesitate to reach out for caring, non-judgmental, professional assistance and support.

If you develop symptoms consistent with monkeypox or have any questions or concerns, please contact UHS by phone at 574-631-7497. UHS can test for the monkeypox infection with results available between three and five days of testing.