The University of Delaware is working with the CDC and Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) to educate our campus, prepare for, and respond to monkeypox. This website will be updated frequently.
Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus in the Poxvirus family. It can cause fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash. Monkeypox is spread through close contact, including prolonged face-to-face contact and skin-to-skin contact. It is contagious from the time symptoms begin until the rash has healed and new skin has formed. This can take 2-4 weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus in the Poxvirus family similar to smallpox. Symptoms from monkeypox are usually less severe than smallpox.
Infections with monkeypox are rarely fatal, but symptoms can be painful. Secondary skin infections can cause scarring and complications, as well.
What are the signs and symptoms of monkeypox?
Monkeypox symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus, and may include:
- Flu-like symptoms (fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes).
- Followed by a rash 1-4 days later. The rash usually begins around the mouth/face, then spreads to the hands/feet/arms/legs/trunk. Some individuals only develop a rash on or near the genitals/anus.
- The rash changes from small, flat red/dark spots to tiny blisters (vesicles) and then to larger, pus-filled blisters or pustules. The rash can take several weeks to heal.
- A person is contagious from the time their symptoms begin until the rash is completely healed and new skin has formed. This can take 2-4 weeks.
- If you have symptoms of monkeypox, contact Student Health by calling (302) 831-2226. Let them know if you have a rash or a concern about monkeypox. Employees should contact their healthcare provider.
- Your healthcare provider can test for monkeypox, if indicated.
How can I get tested for monkeypox?
Monkeypox testing is only available from a healthcare provider. There are no home tests available. Healthcare providers can only test for monkeypox once a rash has developed. A swab (like a Q-tip) is taken from a few lesions. Test results take 3-5 days. Students should reach out to Student Health Services for possible testing. Faculty and staff should contact their healthcare provider.
How is monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox spreads in different ways. The virus can spread from person-to-person through:
- Direct contact with the infectious rash or scabs.
- Respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact (>3 hours) or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.
- Touching cloth items such as clothing, sheets, or towels that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
- Touching contaminated items such as door knobs, electronics, and environmental surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
- Sharing drinks, utensils, and toothbrushes.
It is currently unknown if monkeypox is sexually transmitted.
Unlike COVID-19, monkeypox does not spread by persons without symptoms or by casual contact.
Who is at risk for monkeypox?
- It is important to note that anyone can get monkeypox if they have very close contact with someone who is infected.
- Monkeypox spreads in close-knit social groups. A person’s individual risk is dependent on the amount of interactions with at-risk social circles and spaces.
- Your level of risk increases if you have multiple sexual partners or are engaging in social activities where there is skin-to-skin contact.
- Currently, cases are predominantly among men who have sex with men. This may include men who identify as Gay, Bisexual, Heterosexual, or any man who engages in sexual activity with other men.
What steps can I take to prevent getting monkeypox?
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid close contact with and handling linens of people with monkeypox.
- Avoid touching contaminated objects that have been used by people with monkeypox.
- Avoid enclosed spaces where there is intimate or sexual contact.
- Avoid parties or clubs where there is direct, personal, skin-to-skin contact.
- Have open discussions with any sexual partners about symptoms of monkeypox and do not engage with anyone with potential symptoms.
There are increasing cases of monkeypox in the United States. At this time, the risk of monkeypox in Delaware is believed to be low. However, anyone in close contact with a person with monkeypox can get it and should take steps to protect themselves.
Do condoms prevent monkeypox?
Unfortunately, condoms do not prevent monkeypox. Condoms are still important, as they help prevent sexually transmitted infections like HIV, Gonorrhea, and Chlamydia.
What if I have been exposed to someone with monkeypox?
Your level of exposure to someone with monkeypox depends on the timeline of their symptom onset, the duration you spent together, the proximity and the activity.
If you had a known intermediate or high-risk exposure to someone with monkeypox:
- Monitor for symptoms for 21 days.
- Call Student Health at 302-831-2226 if symptoms or a rash develop. Employees should contact their healthcare provider.
- Get vaccinated (call Public Health for vaccination at 1-866-408-1899).
- Clean any shared spaces.
What should I know about the monkeypox vaccine?
As of September 12, 2022, vaccines are available to:
- People with known or suspected exposure to monkeypox
- Individuals who are HIV+
- Individuals taking PrEP for HIV prevention
- Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men and have had multiple (more than one) sex partners or any anonymous sex partners
- Transgender women or nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men
- Sex workers of any gender/sexual orientation
- Immunocompromised persons (including those with cancer, solid organ or stem cell transplants, those taking immunosuppressive therapy, and individuals with autoimmune disease)
- Those treated for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the last six months
- People experiencing homelessness
- People in prison
As vaccine supply improves in Delaware, additional groups may be eligible for monkeypox vaccine.
UD is working with DPH to increase monkeypox vaccine availability on campus. The monkeypox vaccine is not required for UD students, faculty and staff.
For vaccine information and appointments, please contact DPH at 1-866-408-1899 or DPHCall@delaware.gov.
See the bottom of this webpage for additional vaccine resources in Delaware.
What do I do if I am diagnosed with monkeypox?
Follow the instructions from the CDC and your medical provider. The University of Delaware expects that individuals who test positive for monkeypox will comply with Delaware Division of Public Health communications and recommendations, including isolation and contact tracing. Individuals will need to isolate until they are no longer contagious and all scabs/lesions have resolved and new skin has grown (which can take 2-4 weeks). Students must return home for their isolation period. If returning home is not possible, students should reach out to their RA. Detailed isolation and cleaning instructions for monkeypox can be found on the CDC website.
Employees should reach out to their HR liaison for questions about leave or returning to work.
Is there treatment for monkeypox?
Most people with monkeypox recover fully within 2 to 4 weeks without the need for medical treatment. Antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems. TPOXX is currently only available through the Strategic National Stockpile.
Links & Resources
More Resources for Students
UD Student Health Services (UD students only)
Call 302-831-2226 to schedule an appointment or register through the UD Health Portal.
Call the DPH Hotline at 1-866-408-1899 to schedule an appointment with a public health clinic or vaccine event.
Beebe Health Care
Register for vaccine clinics at beebehealthcare.org/monkeypox.
Newark Urgent Care
Visit NewarkUrgentCare.org to schedule an appointment for Thursday vaccination clinics.