Frequently Asked Questions

Hey Zips - the emergence of a potentially new illness in our community can be stressful, especially at the beginning of the academic year when students are sharing spaces with new roommates, suitemates, teammates and others. To ensure you are informed and aware of potential risks, Student Health Services has assembled a list of frequently asked questions about monkeypox. For more information, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a comprehensive website with information and updates on monkeypox.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal.

At this time, the risk of monkeypox in the United States is thought to be low for the general public. It does not spread easily between people, such as passing someone in a store, sitting near them in a room or talking outdoors several feet apart.

Monkeypox can spread from person to person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling or sex.

Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. Anyone in close personal contact with a person with monkeypox can get it and should take steps to protect themselves.

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough)
  • 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 typically lasts two to four weeks

Sometimes, monkeypox begins with flu-like symptoms and sometimes it begins with the rash. Either way, a person should be considered infectious from the time any symptoms begin. Anyone who has flu-like symptoms and thinks they may have monkeypox should stay home, separate from other people and consult with their health care provider.

Symptoms will usually appear within three weeks (21 days) of exposure.

Monitor for symptoms for the next 21 days. During this time, you may conduct normal daily activities if symptoms are not present. Reach out to the local health department for vaccine information. If you start to develop symptoms, contact your health care provider.

People who think they have monkeypox or have had close personal contact with someone who has monkeypox should visit a health care provider to help them decide if they need to be tested or are eligible for a vaccine. If they decide that you should be tested, they will work with you to collect the specimens and send them to a laboratory for testing. If you have symptoms of monkeypox (a rash) you can be tested at Summit County Public Health. Call to schedule an appointment for testing at 330-375-2772. Appointments can also be scheduled at Student Health Services for monkeypox concerns.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a list of approved cleaning solutions or disinfectants for monkeypox. The list includes popular products that many people already use, such as Lysol and Clorox. In addition, the EPA has approved special product labeling for cleaning solutions to prevent monkeypox. The approved list can be found on the EPA website.

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox.
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
  • Don’t share unwashed utensils, cups, toothbrushes, towels, bedding or clothing.
  • Cover exposed skin in crowds.
  • Avoid riskier activities such as anonymous sex.
  • Avoid going to raves, parties or clubs where people wear minimal clothing and where there is direct, intimate, skin-to-skin contact.