Monkeypox Guidance

Brandeis is closely monitoring our local, regional and national public health situation regarding the global outbreak of monkeypox. Student Health Services is training our staff and developing plans to identify, test, treat, isolate, manage contacts, and monitor cases should they occur in our campus community. Furthermore, we want to encourage the entire community to familiarize themselves with the basic facts about monkeypox and to take steps to prevent its spread.

For more information, please visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health monkeypox website or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Monkeypox website.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. It can cause flu-like symptoms and a rash, sometimes the rash can be quite painful.

Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease as it can be transmitted by any direct physical contact between someone’s rash, scabs, bodily fluids and another person, this can include sexual activity but also includes any touching of the lesions/rash between people or even touching clothing or bedding that an infected person used.

In this current outbreak many of the cases to date are related to individuals who contracted it due to close physical contact during sexual activity.

How is monkeypox spread?

Signs and Symptoms – Monkeypox often starts with flu like symptoms or sometimes with a rash only. The rash can have many lesions scattered over the body but sometimes a person might only have a few lesions. Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

What to do if you think you have monkeypox?

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 medical appointments. Talk to your close contacts about any recent illnesses or rashes they might have.

If you have a rash and think you might be at risk for monkeypox due to an exposure or high-risk activities call Student Health Services at 781-736-3677 for an appointment with a provider. Make sure to wear a mask and to cover any rash or lesions you have with clothing and let staff know as soon as possible why you are there.

Student Health Services can conduct monkeypox testing, results may take a few days.If your provider is concerned you may have monkeypox you will need to isolate until you get results.

What to do if you test positive for monkeypox?

People with monkeypox should follow these recommendations until cleared by state or local public health officials:

How can you reduce your risk and prevent spread?

Is there a monkeypox vaccine?

When properly administered before or after a recent exposure, vaccines can be effective tools at protecting people against monkeypox illness and can make it less severe after exposure.

Supplies of the monkeypox vaccine are currently limited, both locally and nationally. Currently (8/15/2022) vaccine is limited in Massachusetts and is prioritized for those exposed or at most risk. Once supply increases, the University will strive to obtain vaccine to administer as appropriate according to CDC guidance.

If you are outside of Massachusetts, the CDC has a US Map and case count here. For information on what your state is doing, please visit the state public health department. If you are outside of the United States, the World Health Organization has global information and we recommend reviewing your country’s public health agency website.