The Collegian
Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Students respond to UR's monkeypox guidance

The entrance to the Student Health Center in the Well-Being Center.
The entrance to the Student Health Center in the Well-Being Center.

Students received the first communication from the administration regarding monkeypox 11 days before the first day of the fall semester, but some say there has not been much talk of the virus on campus.

In Virginia, there have been a total of 262 cases as of Aug. 22, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The Student Health Center is working with local and national health experts to monitor monkeypox spread, said Latrina Lemon, the health center’s Medical Director, in the email to the UR community.

Senior Donte Thompson thought the communication from the administration did not say much, he said.

“Some students are really worried because there aren’t any mask requirements, but I haven’t talked to a lot of people about it,” Thompson said. 

Lemon also noted in the email that symptoms of monkeypox include fever and chills, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, swollen lymph nodes and blisters, lesions or a rash on the genitals, anus, hands, feet, chest, face or mouth.

Sophomore Cady Cummins said reading the email made her feel more comfortable, but she said she had barely heard anyone talking about monkeypox.

“I was confused because they said it was rare,” she said. “With these numbers, it doesn’t seem rare.”

Monkeypox spreads through close or direct contact with sores, rashes, and bodily fluids of an infected person.

Although cases in the city of Richmond remain low, Sophmore Jamilah Ganyuma is worried there will be an outbreak in Virginia, she said.

“I don’t think students are worried just because there’s such little information about monkeypox going around right now,” Ganyuma said. 

Anyone can potentially get and spread monkeypox. However, the risk to the public is low, according to VDH. UR is urging students to monitor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and VDH monkeypox websites for the most up-to-date information. 

Junior Bailey Rossenfeld expressed her disappointment in the lack of information from UR about how the virus spreads. 

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“The University needs to be honest with students about the virus,” Rossenfeld said. “If people don’t have the right information, they are in a lot more danger than if they are kept in the dark to protect their feelings.”

The current number of national cases is 14,115 as of Aug. 22, according to the CDC.

If a student starts to show symptoms consistent with monkeypox, has questions, or has been in contact with someone who has monkeypox, they can call the health center at 804-289-8064 to schedule an appointment.

Students who have symptoms need to isolate themselves from others, cover their lesions and contact a health care provider, according to the health center’s FAQ page about monkeypox. Those who cannot totally isolate should wear a facemask and cover any areas with rashes.

UR officials have not said whether there would be vaccination clinics on campus, but the health center’s FAQ mentions the potential use of the antiviral tecovirimat or TPOXX for those who are immunocompromised.

The health center is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and Thursday from 10 am to 4:30 pm.

Contact news writer Amy Jablonski at amy.jablonski@richmond.edu.

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