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Moravian’s Response to Monkeypox

Moravian University will continue to maintain close communication with other partners including the Bethlehem Health Bureau, the Lancaster County Health Department, the CDC, the PA Department of Health and Human Services and the American College Health Association to guide our planning and decision making. 

Throughout the school year Moravian University will do the following:

  • Provide community health education to include general information about the virus, local health resources, prevention information, early detection and treatment information and education to reduce stigmatization.
  • Ensure that our cleaning and disinfecting products and procedures on each campus are effective against MPX. We currently use disinfectant products that are effective for this purpose.
  • The Moravian University Health Center will consult with all students and employees about testing and treatment options.
  • The Moravian University Health Center will also stay in close touch with the Bethlehem Health Bureau and other local agencies to advertise and support vaccination clinics that may become available locally.
  • Offer support services for students who must isolate away from campus as a result of Monkeypox.

About Monkeypox

Updated July 2022 by the CDC

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

Monkeypox was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Despite being named “monkeypox,” the source of the disease remains unknown. However, African rodents and non-human primates (like monkeys) might harbor the virus and infect people.

The first human case of monkeypox was recorded in 1970. Prior to the 2022 outbreak, monkeypox had been reported in people in several central and western African countries. Previously, almost all monkeypox cases in people outside of Africa were linked to international travel to countries where the disease commonly occurs or through imported animals. These cases occurred on multiple continents.

How It Spreads (Per the CDC)

Monkeypox spreads in a few ways.

  • Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:
    • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
    • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
    • Contact with respiratory secretions.
  • This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including:
    • Oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals or anus of a person with monkeypox.
    • Hugging, massage, and kissing.
    • Prolonged face-to-face contact.
    • Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and that have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.
  • A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.

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 2-4 weeks.

Scientists are still researching:

  • If the virus can be spread when someone has no symptoms
  • How often monkeypox is spread through respiratory secretions, or when a person with monkeypox symptoms might be more likely to spread the virus through respiratory secretions.
  • Whether monkeypox can be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or feces.

Signs and Symptoms (Per the CDC)

People with monkeypox get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals, anus, 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 monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Headache
  • 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.

What should you do if you think you have monkeypox?

  • Students who are experiencing any symptoms, such as flu-like symptoms or rash, should email healthcenter@moravian.edu for assistance. Testing will be ordered when clinically indicated and students will be provided further instructions for isolation when appropriate.
  • Employees should remain home and contact their health provider for follow up and clinical testing. If the employee tests positive, they should email hr@moravian.edu or call 610.861.1567 for further instruction.

What should you do if you think you’ve been exposed? 

  • Students with a known exposure to a person with known or suspected Monkeypox should notify the Health Center as soon as possible via healthcenter@moravian.edu. When appropriate, students will be referred for vaccination which is most effective within four days after exposure.
  • Employees with a known exposure to a person with known or suspected Monkeypox should contact their health provider.

Isolation 

  • Isolation Period: Isolation is from the onset of symptoms until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
  • Residential students are expected to isolate off-campus.
  • Return from isolation: All infected persons must have an evaluation by their health care provider when all lesions have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed.
  • Students must contact the Health Center (healthcenter@moravian.edu) and upload documentation to their health portal from their health care provider that they are no longer contagious as all lesions have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed before they may return.
  • Employees must submit medical documentation to Human Resources before they are permitted to return to campus.

Source: CDC: About Monkeypox