Information About Monkeypox

Updated September 26, 2022

The University of Oregon is preparing for fall term and university providers and clinical teams are closely monitoring the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other medical resources to stay abreast of developments in the prevention, testing, diagnosis, and treatment of the viral disease known as monkeypox. 

Monkeypox is an infection caused by the monkeypox virus (hMPX). We acknowledge that the term “monkeypox” is a stigmatizing descriptor of the illness caused by the hMPX virus; we use it here until the World Health Organization confers more appropriate terminology.

The virus does not spread without close contact and the risk to the broader campus community is low. In an effort to reduce spread as students and staff return to campus, University Health Services is providing guidance on how to protect against the virus and ensure our healthcare providers have appropriate training in an effort to reduce spread.

The monkeypox virus can infect people of any identity, so we should all be aware, educated, and ready to support. Certain identities are currently over-represented in this outbreak. These groups include cisgender or transgender men who have sex with men, transgender women who have sex with men, or gender nonconforming or nonbinary folk who have sex with men.

Monkeypox 

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the hMPX virus. Prior to 2022, monkeypox had been reported in people living in central and western Africa. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Monkeypox website or visit Lane County Public Health.

Symptoms

  • Rash that looks like pimples or blisters
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

If you have an unexplained rash, sores, or other symptoms, self-isolate and contact your primary care provider. If you don’t have a provider please call University Health Services at 541-346-2770 or Lane County Public Health at 541-682-4041. Keep the rash covered and avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until you have been checked out.

How does monkeypox spread?

Anyone can contract monkeypox. In the current outbreak, monkeypox is overwhelmingly transmitted by prolonged direct skin-to skin contact through sexual activity, hugging, kissing, and massage.  Transmission through incidental household contact, respiratory droplets, and handling objects used by a person with monkeypox (bedding, towels, sex toys) have been reported but are much less common modes of transmission. Scientists are still researching whether monkeypox is spread by through semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or feces.

Monkeypox can spread 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. Most people with monkeypox recover without treatment. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

Who can get tested for monkeypox?

People can get tested for monkeypox if they have skin lesions and symptoms consistent with the disease. The University Health Services laboratory has access to monkeypox testing. University Health Services providers and clinical teams have determined best practices and evidence-based medical treatments and are fully prepared to test, diagnose, and treat the virus.

If a member of the UO community suspects they have monkeypox, they should self-isolate and call University Health Services at 541-346-2770, or contact their primary care provider for information on next steps.

Vaccinations for monkeypox

The U.S. currently has a vaccine (JYNNEOS) which may be used as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) or to prevent monkeypox. University Health Services currently has the JYNNEOS vaccine available. If you are interested in the JYNNEOS vaccine, contact UHS at 541-346-2770 to speak with a nurse to see if the JYNNEOS vaccine is right for you, either for prevention or PEP.

Who can get vaccinated for monkeypox?

Currently, University Health Services does not have the monkeypox vaccine, though it is available through Lane County Public Health. To inquire about the vaccination, contact the Lane County Public Health Department at 541-682-4041.

What is the risk of monkeypox to the campus community?

The risk of contracting monkeypox remains low among the campus community. Monkeypox is spread through skin-to-skin contact, including intimate contact, with someone who actively has symptoms.

It is important to seek testing and treatment quickly if you are exhibiting a new, unexplained rash along with other monkeypox symptoms or have had close contact with someone who recently tested positive for monkeypox.

How can I prevent monkeypox?

Avoid skin-on-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox.

What is UHS doing about monkeypox?

University Health Services provider and clinical teams:

  • have completed an in-service on monkeypox;
  • are closely monitoring the CDC and FDA, along with other respected medical education to stay abreast of developments to prevent, test, diagnose and treat monkeypox; and
  • have determined best practices and evidence-based medical treatments and are fully prepared to test, diagnose, and this virus.

Respect statement

University Health Services believes all people have the right to access essential, effective, safe, and evidence-based medical care. Individual healthcare decisions belong between a patient and their medical provider. UHS will work with each student to provide individual care with regard to education, information, and options in a confidential and respectful way.

This site will be updated regularly as information becomes available through the CDC.