Gettysburg College Addresses Monkeypox, Will Continue to Monitor Virus

By Lauren Chu, Social Media Manager

In a campus-wide email received by the Gettysburg College community on Thursday, August 11, Associate Vice President of College Life and Dean of Students Jeff Foster addressed the recent concern with the monkeypox virus and provided further information on the rising health concern. Foster told students and fellow faculty that the local WellSpan health center in Gettysburg is closely monitoring the virus.  

Foster explained that unlike the COVID-19 virus, studies and research on monkeypox have concluded thus far that the virus is not easily contagious or transmissible through close contact (e.g. acts of intimacy such as cuddling, kissing, or sex where one may make physical contact with infectious rash). 

Risks of contagion and contracting the virus have been low for individuals who have been in casual contact with each other through actions such as sitting and socializing in the same room.  No severe diseases or deaths have been traced back or linked to the monkeypox virus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not recommended a widespread vaccine against monkeypox at this time, he said.

Foster said the known, common symptoms of monkeypox include fevers, headaches, muscle aches, backaches, and rash-like blisters or pimples that may appear on an individual’s face, inside one’s mouth, or on one’s hands, feet, genitals, chest, or anus.  If a student develops a rash paired with the symptoms listed above, the college advises to reach out to the Health Center by WellSpan in Gettysburg via phone at (717) 337-4105 for testing and evaluation, and/or they may email the college’s health center via email at health_services@gettysburg.edu for further information, or any questions or concerns.

Foster said evaluation of an individual that experiences symptoms of monkeypox may lead to testing or temporary isolation in designated housing.   

“We will continue to monitor public health conditions on our campus and provide updates as needed,” he said.

(Editor’s note: a previous version of this article incorrectly stated that physical contact with the rash was not likely to lead to transmission of the virus. – K. Oglesby, 8/15/22)

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Author: Lauren Chu

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