Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a rare virus that is spread mostly through close, intimate contact with someone who has monkeypox. If left undetected and untreated, monkeypox can cause severe illness, hospitalization and, rarely, death. 

While the risk for contracting the disease for the general public is low — it is still important for the Binghamton University community to know how monkeypox is spread, what its symptoms are, how to reduce personal risk and steps to take if you are experiencing symptoms.

How is monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox spreads through close, physical contact between people. This includes:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox sores, scabs, rashes or body fluids.

  • Exposure to respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sexual activities. For more information on sexual health and monkeypox, see this CDC fact sheet.

  • Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched an infectious rash or body fluids.
  • Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

Anyone can get monkeypox. However, based on the current outbreak, certain populations are being affected by monkeypox more than others. 

Symptoms of monkeypox

  • A rash or rashes that can look like pimples or blisters that appear on the face, inside the mouth and on other parts of the body like the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus (the rash goes through different stages before healing completely).
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion

After exposure to someone with monkeypox, it may take 21 days to develop symptoms of the infection. The illness typically lasts two to four weeks. Sometimes, people get a rash first followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. The disease is contagious from the onset of symptoms or rash until the scabs of the rash have dried up and fallen off and the skin is healing well underneath. 

How to reduce your risk

  • Limit the number of people with whom you have intimate contact.
  • Avoid close face-to-face and skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a monkeypox-related rash or other symptoms.
  • Ask potential sexual partner(s) whether they have a rash or other symptoms consistent with monkeypox and, if so, delay sex until they are evaluated by a healthcare provider.

If you are concerned you may be experiencing symptoms, a healthcare provider can perform a risk assessment and identify the appropriate steps to take. Students can make an appointment at Decker Student Health Services Center through the patient portal at binghamton.medicatconnect.com or at any local urgent care facility.

Any residential student who tests positive for monkeypox must report their positive test to the Decker  Student Health Services Center. To report an off-campus test result (i.e. a result from a test not administered at Decker Student Health Services Center), students must send a confidential Secure Message to the medical director, Richard E. Moose, MD, using the health services patient portal immediately after receiving the positive result. They should also be prepared to upload a copy of their test report to confirm the infection.  

Precautions we are taking

Binghamton University has been using enhanced disinfection and cleaning procedures for common areas well before this situation. Our standard cleaning procedures meet all CDC recommendations, and our staff pay particularly close attention to cleaning and disinfecting major touch points (door knobs, handles, elevator buttons, etc.) with hospital-grade disinfectant.

The University will offer limited isolation housing on campus in the fall of 2022 for on-campus residing students who test positive for Monkeypox.  Should the need expand beyond available beds, students may be required to return home for their isolation period.

For more information:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

New York State Department of Health

Broome County Health Department