Monkeypox Information and Resources

Last updated: 25 August 2022

Over the course of summer 2022, news regarding communicable disease has included a new public health concern: Monkeypox. We are aware that we may have cases of monkeypox as the 2022-2023 academic year progresses. Aurora University is focused on education and prevention, as well as preparedness should a case be reported.

We are currently unable to test or treat monkeypox at Aurora University’s Health Services. Should you have any questions about monkeypox or if you are concerned about possible symptoms or exposure, please contactHealth Services for guidance rather than visiting in person. Health Services (630-844-5434, shs@aurora.edu) can be reached Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Below are frequently asked questions about monkeypox.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a public health issue that is relevant to all members of the campus community — students, faculty, staff, and administrators — and has been declared as a public health emergency by the State of Illinois as well as the federal government. The current strain has a less than 1% fatality rate, primarily affecting those who are under 8, immune-compromised, have a history of eczema, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus.

  • Monkeypox is spread through:
    • direct contact with an infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids.
    • respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.
    • touching objects, including fabrics (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the rash or body fluids of someone with monkeypox.
    • being scratched or bitten by an infected animal.
  • Monkeypox can be acquired by all people, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • Monkeypox causes a rash.
  • Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take several weeks.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Monkeypox symptoms usually appear 1-2 weeks after a person has been infected. Most people with monkeypox will develop a rash. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with monkeypox get a rash that may be located on or near the genitals or anus and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. The rash will go through several stages, including flat/smooth rash, raised bumps, fluid filled lesions, pus-filled lesions, scabs, before healing.

Other symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and backache, headache, and respiratory symptoms (e.g., sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough). People infected with the virus may experience all or only a few symptoms.

It is important to note that 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.

How long do monkeypox symptoms last?

According to the CDC, monkeypox symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus. If someone has flu-like symptoms, they will usually develop a rash 1-4 days later.

Monkeypox can be spread from the time symptoms start 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.

What steps can I take to help prevent getting monkeypox?

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle, or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
    • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  • Practice good hygiene.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Do not share eating utensils or cups.
    • Avoid sharing clothing, linens, pillows, or towels.
    • Avoid sharing make up, soaps, razors, or other hygiene products.
    • Launder clothing and linen weekly.
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces routinely.

What should I do if I have a new or unexplained rash, fever, swollen glands, and/or other symptoms?

  • If you think you have monkeypox or have had close personal contact with someone who has monkeypox, you should visit a healthcare provider to determine if you need to be tested for monkeypox. Click here to see a list of urgent/immediate care centers within 30 minutes from Aurora University. (Note: As of 22 August 2022, both Rush-Copley Hospital and Mercy Hospital are able to test for the monkeypox virus.)
  • Remind the healthcare provider that monkeypox is present in the United States.
  • Avoid close contact (including intimate physical contact) with others until you see a healthcare provider.
  • Avoid close contact with pets or other animals until you see a healthcare provider.
  • If you’re waiting for test results, follow the same precautions.

What should I do if I test positive for monkeypox?

  • If your test result is positive, stay isolated and observe other prevention practices until your rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.
  • Remain isolated if you have a fever, sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough. Only go out to see a healthcare provider or for an emergency. Avoid public transportation.
  • If you must leave isolation, cover the rash and wear a well-fitting mask.
  • Visit the CDC for additional guidance.
  • Residential students who test positive are expected to isolate at home. Isolation plans for resident students who are unable to return home due to travel restrictions will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Students who test positive for monkeypox and must isolate for the duration of an anticipated 2-4 weeks may want to consider contacting Jessica Nunez in Student Life (jnunez@aurora.edu, 630-844-7558) to explore the possibility of a medical leave for the semester.

Is there a vaccine for monkeypox?

Yes, there is a vaccine for monkeypox; however, they are in limited supply. As of 22 August 2022, the DuPage County Health Department is the nearest vaccination provider. For additional information regarding vaccine eligibility, please click here.

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; and whether monkeypox can be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or feces.

Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?

Monkeypox can more accurately be described as “sexually transmissible.” In other words, sex is just one of the ways that monkeypox can be spread. In the past, monkeypox outbreaks have been linked to direct exposure to infected animals and animal products, with limited person-to-person spread. In the current monkeypox outbreak, the virus is spreading primarily through close personal contact. This may include contact with infectious lesions or respiratory secretions via close, sustained skin-to-skin contact that occurs during sex. However, any close, sustained skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox can spread the virus. The contact does not have to be exclusively intimate or sexual.

Please remember that monkeypox can be transmitted to anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.