Monkeypox Update

August 11, 2022

Dear LSU Community,

The Biden Administration has declared monkeypox a public health emergency. Please read the below information to learn how best to protect yourself and the steps LSU is taking to be prepared for any possible cases on campus.

Monkeypox is a viral illness that can cause flu-like symptoms and a rash. Evidence shows the virus is spreading mostly through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox. Transmission occurs by direct contact with lesions, body fluids of an infected person, or exposure to an infected person’s respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact. It can also spread by touching items, such as clothing or linens, that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids.

Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed; typically 2-4 weeks. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others. It can also be spread between humans and animals.

There is an FDA-approved vaccine for monkeypox, JYNNEOS, but it is not widely available at this time. The CDC approved a new dosing protocol on Aug. 10, 2022, that will expand the availability of the JYNNEOS vaccine. Monkeypox is not new but has re-emerged after 40 years of no reported cases. It is rarely fatal, and usually resolves without any specific treatment. The CDC does not recommend widespread vaccination against monkeypox at this time.

Symptoms

  • Fever and chills
  • Headache, muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Exhaustion
  • Rash, which may look like blisters or pimples, usually follows the other symptoms a few days later

Prevention

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox
  • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox
  • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox
  • Do not share eating utensils, cups, lip balms or cigarettes with someone with monkeypox
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox
  • Sanitize shared gym equipment before and after each use
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Consult a medical provider if you believe you have been exposed

If you have monkeypox or believe you have been exposed

  • Contact your healthcare provider immediately and avoid close or intimate contact with anyone until you have been checked out
  • Avoid gatherings, especially if they involve close, personal, skin-to-skin contact or prolonged face-to-face contact
  • If you live on campus, inform Residential Life of your diagnosis as soon as possible, so they can offer advice and any possible assistance
  • Return home if possible and isolate until your rash has fully healed and symptoms are resolved
  • Stay in a separate room or area away from people or pets during isolation
  • Do not go to class. Provide as much prior notification to your instructors that you will miss class – at as early a date as possible – and appropriate documentation of the reason for the absence. Instructors and students should follow the guidelines in PS22, Student Absence from Class.

What is LSU doing?

  • The LSU Office of Emergency Preparedness, the Student Health Center, and Residential Life are working with Our Lady of the Lake and FMOL Health System to ensure we have testing capacity and protocols in place for any student presenting with symptoms or questions
  • The Office of Emergency Preparedness is participating in Louisiana Department of Health briefings and will continue to implement recommended protocols for students, faculty and staff
  • The Louisiana Department of Health will work with LSU to conduct contact tracing for anyone who becomes infected and will offer the vaccine to high-risk exposures
  • The Office of Emergency Preparedness will provide PPE to all responding staff
  • LSU Environmental Health & Safety will remove any hazardous waste from campus
  • LSU will continue to offer educational information to help students and employees protect themselves

 

For more information on how you can protect yourself, visit the CDC’s Prevention web page.

To locate a monkeypox testing site in the Greater Baton Rouge area, visit the LDH testing center directory.