Wayne State’s Campus Health Committee continues to monitor cases of monkeypox in the state and region, and will respond accordingly to any cases on campus. Here are some common questions regarding the disease, its symptoms, and testing and treatment.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus that can cause painful blisters and flu-like symptoms. It is in the same family as smallpox but much less dangerous and rarely fatal. Cases often clear up on their own after several weeks.

Why is monkeypox a concern now?

Recently, clusters of monkeypox have been reported in several countries that have not historically reported the disease. As of Aug. 23, there have been more than 14,000 confirmed monkeypox cases in the United States, including more than 100 in Michigan.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Monkeypox symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus and may include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Clear or pus-filled bumps

A person is contagious with monkeypox from the onset of the rash through the scab stage. The illness typically lasts between two and four weeks.

How does monkeypox spread?

Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has the monkeypox virus can get the illness regardless of age, gender identity or sexual orientation. The virus spreads through prolonged physical contact and can be transmitted from person to person through:

  • Direct contact with the 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 with a person with the monkeypox virus.
  • Touching items such as clothing, bedding or towels that have been used by someone with monkeypox.

How can I avoid monkeypox?

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Limit close, personal contact to people you know and avoid close personal contact with individuals who have symptoms — including fever and rash. This is not limited to sexual contact, and can include:
    • Skin-to-skin contact, including kissing and cuddling.
    • Sharing drinks and utensils.
    • Touching contaminated clothing, towels and bed linens.
  • Talk about monkeypox virus risk with close contacts and partners.
  • Avoid enclosed spaces where there is intimate or sexual contact, and parties or clubs where attendees wear minimal clothing and where there is direct, personal, skin-to-skin contact.

What should I do if I think I’ve been exposed to monkeypox?

If you feel sick or have unexplained rashes, or you’re concerned about a potential or known exposure, contact the Campus Health Center at 313-577-5041 to:

  • Get checked.
  • Get tested.
  • Get protected.

When calling the Campus Health Center, let them know if you have a rash or a concern about monkeypox.

Also, avoid skin-to-skin contact with people until you have been evaluated by a health care provider. Wear a well-fitting mask when around others and keep the rash covered.

What should I do if I have been diagnosed with monkeypox?

  • Follow the instructions of your medical provider.
  • Contact the Campus Health Center at 313-577-5041.

Is there a treatment for monkeypox?

There are no treatments specifically for monkeypox virus infections. However, monkeypox and smallpox viruses are genetically similar, which means that antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may be used to prevent and treat monkeypox virus infections.

Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems.

If you have symptoms of monkeypox, you should talk to your health care provider, even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox.

Most people with monkeypox recover fully within two to four weeks without the need for medical treatment.

Where can I go for more information about monkeypox?

More information about the monkeypox virus, its symptoms and the latest updates is available from the CDC’s website and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service’s website.