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Monkeypox Health and Safety

This website will be updated with relevant guidance regarding monkeypox. We continue to carefully monitor conditions and work closely with our public health experts at the university and VUMC. As always, we will continue to update the Vanderbilt community if conditions change in the future.

Find answers to the most asked questions about monkeypox

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Monkeypox Health and Safety

Monkeypox is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. On July 23, 2022, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern. On August 4, 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the ongoing spread of monkeypox virus in the United States a Public Health Emergency (PHE).

Symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and backache, headache, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus. The rash may go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. The rash may be painful or itchy.

Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. More information can be found here.

Link to this FAQ

Monkeypox can be spread from person to person through close, personal contact (often skin-to-skin contact), including:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
  • Touching objects, particularly porous surfaces and fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), or surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions.
  • A pregnant person can spread the virus to a fetus through the placenta.

This direct contact can happen during intimate contact, including prolonged face-to-face contact, hugging, massage, kissing, or sexual contact. Monkeypox does not spread through casual contact, passing by, or having a conversation with someone who has monkeypox.

Individuals are infectious from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed, typically 2-4 weeks. More information can be found here.

Link to this FAQ

Students should visit the Student Health Center for testing.

Faculty, staff or postdocs can visit their primary care doctor, a VUMC clinic, or Occupational Health for testing.

An infection caused by monkeypox should be confirmed via a test. Results can take between 2-5 days to be reported.

Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. More information can be found here.

Link to this FAQ

You will need to quarantine from others until you get the results. Individuals who live off campus should quarantine in their residences.

Campus residents should contact Housing at dosmazikcare@vanderbilt.edu for more information on quarantine housing if they have symptoms and are awaiting test results.

The CDC provides a variety of tips and prevention practices. These include, but are not limited to:

  • While symptomatic with a fever or any respiratory symptoms, remain isolated in the home and away from others unless it is necessary to see a healthcare provider or for an emergency.
    • This includes avoiding close or physical contact with people or animals.
    • Cover the lesions, wear a well-fitting mask, and avoid public transportation when leaving the home as required for medical care or an emergency.
  • While a rash persists in the absence of a fever or respiratory symptoms, cover all parts of the rash with clothing, gloves and/or bandages.
    • Wear a well-fitting mask to prevent the wearer from spreading respiratory secretions while interacting with others.

Link to this FAQ

If you are diagnosed with monkeypox, you will need to isolate.

Individuals who live off campus will need to isolate in their residences.

Campus residents should contact Housing at dosmazikcare@vanderbilt.edu if they are diagnosed with monkeypox.  Campus residents will be moved to isolation housing and may be supported by Housing and Residential Experience, the Student Health Center, and other offices in the Student Care Network.

The CDC provides a variety of tips and prevention practices for those who need to isolate. These include, but are not limited to:

  • While symptomatic, remain isolated in the home and away from others unless it is necessary to see a healthcare provider or for an emergency.
    • This includes avoiding close or physical contact with people or animals.
    • Cover the lesions, wear a well-fitting mask, and avoid public transportation when leaving the home as required for medical care or an emergency.
  • While a rash persists in the absence of a fever or respiratory symptoms, cover all parts of the rash with clothing, gloves and/or bandages.
    • Wear a well-fitting mask to prevent the wearer from spreading secretions while interacting with others.
  • Until all signs and symptoms of monkeypox illness have fully resolved, do not share items that have been worn or handled with other people or animals.
    • Launder or disinfect items that have been worn or handled and surfaces that have been touched by a lesion.
    • Avoid close physical contact, including sexual and/or close intimate contact, with other people.
    • Avoid sharing utensils or cups. Items should be cleaned and disinfected before use by others.
    • Wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after direct contact with the rash.

Monkeypox symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. Individuals are infectious from the time symptoms start until the rash has healed, all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of skin has formed, typically 2-4 weeks. More information can be found here.

Link to this FAQ

At this time, only the Tennessee Department of Health and Metro Public Health Department are able to administer the monkeypox vaccine. The vaccine is not currently available for administration by individual clinics or universities. To learn more about eligibility requirements, please visit the Tennessee Department of Health website.

Metro Public Health Department is hosting a monkeypox vaccination event on Monday, September 12th for eligible individuals. More information can be found on the Student Health Center website. If students need assistance getting to the vaccine location, they should reach out to studentcare@vanderbilt.edu.

 

Link to this FAQ

The Metro Nashville Health Department requires that they perform contact tracing at this time. Contact tracing is carried out by the Metro Nashville Health Department, as they have the ability to administer vaccines if eligibility requirements are met.

Should an individual’s test be confirmed as positive for monkeypox, the Metro Public Health Department will speak with the individual to conduct contact tracing. They will reach out to any identified close contacts with additional information.

Metro Public Health will provide information to identified close contacts regarding their eligibility for vaccination. Contacts should monitor for symptoms as it can take as many as 21 days after exposure for symptoms to develop. At this time, close contacts do not have to quarantine until symptoms appear, at which time they should immediately get tested.

Link to this FAQ