Health Services and the Pandemic Emergency Response Team are monitoring the spread of mpox and are in contact with local, state, and federal health officials to learn the latest developments. The University will update the campus community on any changes to policies or protocols caused by mpox and will use its voice and actions to destigmatize any information or actions related to this disease.
Please review the information below from the CDC about mpox.
Mpox is a rare disease caused by infection with the mpox virus. Mpox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and mpox is rarely fatal. Mpox is not related to chickenpox. Mpox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease, but it is often transmitted through close, sustained physical contact, which can include sexual contact.
Mpox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
- Direct contact with mpox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with mpox.
- Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with mpox.
- Contact with respiratory secretions.
People with mpox get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals (penis, testicles, labia, and vagina) or anus (butthole) and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
- The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.
- The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
Other symptoms of mpox can include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle aches and backache
- Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
You may experience all or only a few symptoms
- Sometimes, people have flu-like symptoms before the rash.
- Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms.
- Others only experience a rash.
Seek medical care and avoid close physical contact and gatherings, including sex with others until you know for sure. Wear a mask and cover your rash when you need to go out for your medical appointments. Talk to your partners about any recent illnesses or rashes they might have.
Students can call Health Services 508-999-8982 and ask to speak with a provider or send a secure message in the Health Services Patient Portal. The healthcare provider will advise you and make a virtual or in person visit for you. Wear a mask and cover any lesions.
Health Services can conduct mpox testing. Results may take a few days. You will need to isolate and avoid contact with others until you get results.
CDC recommends that people with mpox remain isolated at home or at another location for the duration of illness, but that might not be possible in all situations.
People with mpox should follow these recommendations until mpox infection has resolved:
- Friends, family or others without an essential need to be in the home should not visit.
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Avoid close contact with pets in the home and other animals.
- Do not engage in sexual activity that involves direct physical contact.
- Do not share potentially contaminated items, such as bed linens, clothing, towels, wash cloths, drinking glasses or eating utensils.
- Routinely clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and items, such as counters or light switches, using an EPA-registered disinfectant(such as List Q) in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Wear well-fitting source control (e.g., medical mask) when in close contact with others at home.
- Avoid use of contact lenses to prevent inadvertent infection of the eye.
- Avoid shaving rash-covered areas of the body as this can lead to spread of the virus.
Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like mpox.
- Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with mpox.
- Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with mpox.
Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with mpox has used.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with mpox.
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with mpox.
- Avoid sharing vape pens, hookah, or other like objects.
Wash your hands often.
- 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.
Yes. When properly administered before an exposure, vaccines are effective at protecting people against mpox. Visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health mpox vaccination website to learn more about the vaccine and its availability.
Yes. The WHO recommended a new name for the monkeypox disease - mpox.
According to the WHO "When the outbreak of monkeypox expanded earlier this year, racist and stigmatizing language online, in other settings and in some communities was observed and reported to WHO. In several meetings, public and private, a number of individuals and countries raised concerns and asked WHO to propose a way forward to change the name.
Assigning names to new and, very exceptionally, to existing diseases is the responsibility of WHO under the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the WHO Family of International Health Related Classifications through a consultative process which includes WHO Member States."
Please visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health mpox website or the CDC mpox website for more information.