The University’s Public Health Response Team is monitoring the global rise in monkeypox (MPX) cases and is taking a number of important steps to prepare for the likelihood that MPX infections will be identified on Princeton’s campus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MPX is a rare disease that is spread through close, often skin-to-skin contact. Symptoms of MPX include an itchy or painful rash that can initially look like pimples or blisters. Other symptoms may include fever, chills, muscle aches and backaches, headaches, swollen lymph nodes, and respiratory symptoms such as a sore threat, nasal congestion or cough.
University Health Services (UHS) is ready to handle calls from students who have concerns about potential exposure, as well as those who have symptoms or signs of infection. UHS has systems in place to ensure that students can be seen expeditiously. Faculty and staff should contact their healthcare provider for diagnosis and management.
While men who have sex with men and trans women communities have experienced a greater increase of exposure to the MPX virus, anyone can contract the virus. Therefore, it is important that every member of our campus community take seriously public health guidance about MPX.
UHS is in contact with the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) regarding locations where those who are at a higher risk of being exposed to MPX can be referred for vaccination. The vaccine is only available at NJDOH clinics at this time, but the University is tracking the availability of the vaccine closely.
Following the guidance and recommendations of public health authorities, community members who meet the NJDOH’s criteria should strongly consider being vaccinated as vaccines become more readily available. If students have received any of the MPX vaccines, they should submit this information through their MyUHS portal.
You can reduce your risk of getting MPX by avoiding close, skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has a rash that looks like MPX, avoiding contact with objects and materials that someone with MPX has used, and washing your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
The University will continue monitoring the outbreak and will provide updates to the campus community via the UHS website as more information becomes available. For additional information about MPX, please visit the CDC and the NJDOH websites.