On August 4, 2022, the Biden administration declared monkeypox, a viral disease, a public health emergency, with cases on the rise across the United States. This comes following The World Health Organization declaring monkeypox a public health emergency on July 23, 2022. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the situation. We are closely monitoring the global outbreak of monkeypox and adjusting our response, recommendations, and resources as needed. At this time, while still rare, monkeypox (Orthopoxvirus) has gained significant public health and media attention due to the unusual spread of cases globally.
For the most up-to-date information, we recommend the resources available through the New Jersey Department of Health the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If you live outside of New Jersey, please review resources from your local and state departments of health.
What is 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. Unlike COVID-19, monkeypox has existed in humans since around 1970 and medical professionals understand the virus and there are effective vaccines and antiviral treatment. Symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters. Most people infected with monkeypox will get a rash. (See photos of monkeypox rash).
How does it spread?
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.
Who can get it?
Anyone can get monkeypox. Some groups at heightened risk for severe outcomes include people with suppressed immune systems, elderly people, children under 8 years old, and people who are pregnant. During this current outbreak, cases are primarily spreading via sex and other intimate contact. Some populations are currently affected more than others, including men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender people, gender-nonconforming people, and nonbinary people. People within these populations who have multiple or anonymous sex partners are at higher risk of exposure.
Is there a vaccine?
There are currently two vaccines licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that are available for preventing MPX infection: JYNNEOS (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) and ACAM2000. Current vaccine supplies are also very limited. Vaccination in NJ is currently only available through the NJ DOH. Rider does not have access to the monkeypox vaccine at this time. The NJ DOH is the best resource for the most up-to-date vaccine eligibility criteria and availability.
What can I do to protect myself?
- 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. The CDC has helpful prevention information related to Safer Sex, Social Gatherings, and Monkeypox.
- Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
- Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothes of a person with monkeypox.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Schedule an appointment for a vaccination if you meet the eligibility criteria
I’m experiencing symptoms—what now?
- If you start experiencing monkeypox symptoms, even if they are mild, talk to your health care provider immediately. Avoid close contact with others until you see a healthcare provider.
- Are you a student? You can reach out to Rider Student Health Center by calling (609) 896-5060 during the hours of 8:30am-4:30pm, Monday through Friday.
- Are you a faculty or staff member? Contact your medical provider and local department of health.
How can I get tested for Monkeypox?
- Are you a student? You can reach out to us by calling (609) 896-5060 8:30am-4:30pm Monday through Friday.
- Are you a faculty or staff member? Contact your medical provider.
I’ve been diagnosed with Monkeypox—what now?
If you’re experiencing fever, chills or respiratory symptoms, you need to isolate at home or in your residence hall room. If you’re not experiencing fever, chills, and respiratory symptoms, you do not need to isolate, but you do need to follow the additional protocols outlined by the Department of Health.
Most people improve without treatment. The Department of Health is the best resource for the most-up-to date precautions.
Learn more about Monkeypox
We will continue to monitor public health conditions on our campus and provide updates as needed.