Monkeypox

With the increasing news related to cases of monkeypox in the United States, we want to assure you the University has measures in place for reporting and evaluating illness, and contact tracing of contagious diseases such as COVID-19 and monkeypox.

Students and employees should complete the Medical/COVID-19 Referral Reporting Form immediately upon experiencing symptoms of illness, learning of exposure to a communicable disease, or receiving a positive test of contagious illness such as monkeypox, COVID-19, flu, or strep throat. You will be contacted regarding next steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

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    What is the University doing to address any potential monkeypox cases? 

    The COVID-Care team has adjusted the evaluation criteria for symptomatic illness. The additional evaluation measures will direct the next steps for testing, isolation, quarantine and clearance, relating to a suspected or confirmed case of monkeypox.

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    What can I do to protect myself from getting monkeypox? 

    Monkeypox is a virus that anyone can contract. However, there is currently a minimal risk of contraction. It is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact which could include hugging, intimacy, sharing bedding and clothing, or handling the clothing of someone you are caring for who has an active infection with monkeypox. There is evidence that monkeypox can be spread through respiration; however, you would need to be in close contact with a monkeypox-positive individual for an extended period. Currently, the main source of spread is through skin-to-skin contact.

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    What symptoms should I be looking for? 

    You may develop a high fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, headache, back ache, or body aches before OR after seeing a rash. The rash leads to a raised lesion or a pustule lesion. The raised lesions may at first appear clear or reddish. These lesions will crust over and fall off. It is important to consult with a medical provider right away to assess symptoms and provide clearance when appropriate. As with any illness, you may not develop all symptoms listed, and the severity will differ with each person.

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    Where can I get tested or evaluated for a suspected case of monkeypox?

    Students can contact the University Wellness Center at 313-993-1185 to schedule an appointment for evaluation or their own medical provider. Employees should contact their medical provider.

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    I was exposed to someone with a monkeypox infection. What should I do? 

    Report this exposure right away through the Medical/COVID-19 Referral Reporting Form. You will also be directed to inform your local health department. If you have an exposure to monkeypox or a suspected case, you can take measures right away to isolate or distance yourself from others, wear a face mask and clothing that covers exposed skin, especially any lesions or areas of spread, and ask your medical provider about any vaccination or treatment options.

    The duration of isolation for a Monkeypox infection is approximately three to four weeks and requires a physical examination and clearance from a medical provider to return to in-person University activities

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    I am not able to miss three weeks of class. Will I be able to make up the work or will I need to start my term over if I contract monkeypox? 

    Each situation will be evaluated based upon the credentialing that is required in the class or program, and the potential for the material to be conducted remotely. It is necessary to first report your illness, and in the case of monkeypox having a long isolation period, you will also be put into contact with the Dean of Students for next steps academically.

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    I do not have enough sick time in my bank to miss three weeks of work and no one can fill in for me if I contract monkeypox. Will I lose my job? 

    Employees should contact the Employee COVID Coordinator, Kim Slappy at 313-590-4851 to discuss available options, such as short-term disability or an alternative work arrangement.

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    Will I be told if there is a monkeypox case on campus?

    Just as the situation with COVID-19, this will depend upon the extent and timing of exposure. Contact tracing will be carried out and those that have an exposure will be notified. The exposure criteria for COVID-19 does not apply to monkeypox. Again, the individual with a monkeypox infection will not be allowed to return to in-person activity without clearance from a medical provider.

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    Why is it called monkeypox?

    Monkeypox is not a new virus and has been seen in the United States previously. It is similar to smallpox but not as dangerous. It was first isolated in 1958 in colonies of monkeys, but this is likely not the first infection.

    The most updated information relating to health and well-being, including COVID-19 protocols and monkeypox can be found at udmercy.edu/health. We also encourage you to utilize the many University services that promote health and well-being, such as the Fitness Center and the vast activities and groups available.

Please reach out with any related questions to: 

Student Wellness & Well-being Coordinator
313-418-8525
covid-care@udmercy.edu

Employee Wellness & Well-being Coordinator
313-590-4851