We are closely monitoring the global outbreak of monkeypox, are in touch with public health authorities about the virus, and are 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. A significant percentage of US cases have been confirmed in the New York area.
For the most up-to-date information, we recommend the resources available through the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). If you live outside of NYC, please review resources from your local and state departments of health.
What is Monkeypox?
It’s a rare, viral infection that does not usually cause serious illness, but can result in hospitalization or death. 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 predominantly spreads through close, physical contact between people. A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed.
Who can get it?
Anyone can get monkeypox. During this current outbreak, cases are primarily spreading via sex and other intimate contact. As the NYC Department of Health states, “The current cases are primarily spreading through sex and other intimate contact among social networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM); transgender people; gender-nonconforming people; and nonbinary people. People in these social circles who have multiple or anonymous sex partners are at a high risk of exposure.”
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.
Yes, but supplies are limited. Vaccination in NYC is currently only available through the NYC DOH. NYU does not have access to the monkeypox vaccine at this time, although we have been in touch with health authorities about getting access to the vaccine. The NYC DOH is the best resource for the most up-to-date vaccine eligibility criteria and availability.
What can I do to protect myself?
- Ask your sexual partners whether they have a rash or other symptoms of monkeypox, such as fever, headache, muscle aches and backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion.
- Avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a rash or other monkeypox symptoms and those diagnosed with monkeypox.
- Don’t share bedding, towels, clothing, utensils, or cups with a person with symptoms of monkeypox.
- Schedule an appointment for a vaccination if you meet the eligibility criteria
- If you start experiencing monkeypox symptoms, even if they are mild, talk to your healthcare provider immediately.
- Are you a student? The Student Health Center is here to support you. Testing for monkeypox is available to students through the SHC. You can reach out to us by requesting a nurse callback through the Student Health Portal.
- Are you a faculty or staff member? Contact your medical provider. If you don’t have a medical provider, you can call 311 if you’re in New York City.
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.
What should you do if you find out about a case?
NYU faculty, administrators, supervisors, event hosts, and others who are made aware of a positive case, suspected case, or close contact with monkeypox should not make announcements, notify others about the case, cancel classes, and/or make health recommendations to other members of the NYU community.