Texas State and UT Austin each had a case of monkeypox. A local doctor said students shouldn’t worry about the spread of monkeypox in general classrooms.
Austin, Texas – Texas State University announced his first reported case of monkeypox on Tuesday, and that University of Texas at Austin announced its first case back in July.
With campuses now packed with college students again for the fall semester, an Austin doctor said monkeypox shouldn’t be a problem on campus, but students should take precautions about what they do off campus.
“We sometimes look it up frequently after people who have had sexual or intimate contact,” said Dr. Aliza Norwood, the medical director of Vivent health. “It’s not an STD because you can get it if you don’t have sex. But in general we see that happening.”
Norwood said college students should educate themselves, especially once everyone is back in school.
“Knowledge what the signs and symptoms of monkeypox are, talking to potential sexual partners about any symptoms they might have,” Norwood said.
Both UT Austin and Texas State have monkeypox testing services in their on-campus health departments.
“We can only test a rash, so they must actually have visible signs of a rash on their body,” she said.
Texas State said generally a student who has been confirmed with monkeypox must be isolated until they are no longer contagious, which Norwood said can take anywhere from two to four weeks.
“The rashes we’ve seen vary,” she said. “They can be just a small lesion or there can be many all over the body. So you have to wait until everyone has healed and new skin has formed and isolate yourself from other people until then.”
The state of Texas said they are disinfecting the students’ dorm room and their roommates are being offered vaccines by the local health department. They said the student should contact his professors for classwork during the quarantine. UT Austin said they will assess decontamination needs if a member of the UT community tests positive.
“It’s possible for clothing or bedding that has been touched to transmit an infectious rash,” Norwood said. “We don’t see that very often either. But to be absolutely safe, we want someone to isolate and wash all their clothes and bedding and not circulate with other people.”
Norwood said that now that students are back on campus, they should take precautions in intimate settings, but they don’t have to worry about spreading in classrooms.
“Just knowing that you don’t have to be scared, just being in common rooms with people, that it’s not as contagious as COVID, that you really have that fever and rash and need to be in prolonged, close, intimate contact with someone to get it,” Norwood said.
Texas State said they will only send university-wide notifications when they believe it is warranted. UT Austin did not comment on their notification systems.
You can read more about monkeypox from UT Austin here and from the state of Texas here.
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https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/austin-doctor-monkeypox-students-college-campus/269-d959cf46-4a1b-49de-bc97-b84b0bcd1db1 Austin doctor shares monkeypox insights as students start back on college campuses