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NH Colleges and Universities Prepare for Monkeypox

Published Monday Sep 12, 2022

NH Colleges and Universities Prepare for Monkeypox

As the new academic year starts, New Hampshire colleges and universities are preparing in the event the monkeypox virus is detected within the student population on campuses.  In late August, The Centers for Disease Control issued guidelines for colleges and universities ranging from monitoring and risk assessment to treatment and isolation steps needed should any student come down with monkeypox.  College leaders are closely monitoring any changes or updated information regarding the virus itself and have developed and shared plans that might be necessary for an effective and quick response.

“We are working to share information and guidance available to both administrators and to students, to ensure they understand what this virus is, how it is transmitted and ways in which it can be treated and prevented,” explains Debby Scire, President & CEO of the New Hampshire College and University Council.  “Although we have no information that suggests we are facing an outbreak, just like the lessons of the pandemic have taught us, it is important to be prepared.”

According to the CDC, congregate living, like colleges, can increase the chances of the virus spreading among young people.  The agency urges college and universities to communicate with students about the risks, prepare a process to quickly test and treat anyone who tests positive for the monkeypox virus, and initiate isolation of patients to prevent any further spread.  Cleaning and decontaminating procedures have also been shared with higher education leaders to enhance preparation.

“As we welcome students back to campus, we are making them aware of monkey pox and its risks; we are monitoring our health department to ensure a quick and effective response if needed,” says Michele Perkins, Chancellor of New England College and chairperson of the NHCUC.  “Our procedures will mirror those we have implemented to respond to COVID, and we are confident we can mitigate any health care challenge to our students, faculty and staff. Parents can be assured we are watching out for the health and well-being of our students."

As of late August, there were just over 17-thousand confirmed monkeypox cases in the United States, with no fatalities from this virus.  Symptoms of the disease include rash, fever, swollen lymph nodes, muscle ache and fatigue. The illness can last between two and four weeks before symptoms begin to subside.  Patients with monkeypox can expect to treat the symptoms while being prescribed antiviral medication to fight the virus.

For more information, go to:  Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC

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