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Monkeypox Virus (MPV)

Message sent to the Lesley community on August 15, 2022:

In recent weeks, U.S. public health officials and the World Health Organization (WHO) have declared the MPV a global public health emergency. While the number of confirmed cases in Massachusetts remains relatively low (228 as of August 15), the potential for spread is a cause for concern (see map of U.S. cases). We are monitoring the situation as well as guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, CDC, and WHO. 

We would like to provide you with some information about how MPV is spread, the symptoms to watch for, and what to do in the event of exposure or infection. 

How is MPV spread?

MPV infection is spread through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact such as:

  • Direct contact with the rash or scabs from a person with MPV infection. 
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with MPV.
  • Contact with fluids from the mouth, nose, throat, or lungs from a person with MPV. Avoid sharing drinking containers, eating utensils, vaping materials or e-cigarettes.
  • An animal scratch from an infected animal can also transmit MPV.
  • More on how MPV spreads.

What are the symptoms?

MPV causes a skin rash that can look like pimples or blisters and can be painful or itchy. It also may cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, body aches, tiredness, enlarged lymph nodes, sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough. The rash usually develops within 4 days after the onset of flu-like symptoms. Read more about Monkeypox symptoms.

How long does MPV infection last?

The incubation period is 3-17 days, and the illness usually lasts 2-4 weeks. Infected persons are usually asymptomatic during the incubation period. 

How can infected people protect others and limit spread?

Infected individuals must isolate until the skin lesions have resolved and new skin has formed. We will implement isolation protocols for residential students and employees, if needed; community members living off campus would be required to isolate at home.

During isolation:

  • Avoid close intimate contact, maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet.
  • Avoid contact with pets, other animals.
  • Use a separate bathroom, towels, linens, bedding etc. 
  • Cover skin lesions if possible, wearing long sleeve shirts if the arms are involved or gloves if hands are involved.
  • Clean surfaces with an EPA-approved disinfectant
  • More on protecting yourself and others.

We ask everyone to remain vigilant and to take appropriate precautions. There is a MPV vaccine, but currently the supply is extremely limited; consult your healthcare provider about the vaccine if you are at a high risk for contracting the virus.

If you suspect MPV exposure or have possible symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider and immediately inform Student Health Services at lesleyhealthservice@lesley.edu or 617-349-8222.