The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Monday October 3rd

A new virus coming our way: Monkeypox

 (“​​The word monkeypox is standing on a paper, outbreak of the MPXV virus, infectious disease spreading” by Jernej Furman, 2022.)
(“​​The word monkeypox is standing on a paper, outbreak of the MPXV virus, infectious disease spreading” by Jernej Furman, 2022.)

Students from the campus community received an email from Janice Vermeychuk, APN (Advanced Practice Nurse), director of Student Health Services, regarding the new virus that has been spreading across the globe: Monkeypox.

The email, sent on Aug. 25, was sent to inform students about the new virus and what precautions they could take to stop the spread.

The email was sent to inform students about the new virus and precautions that they could take to stop the spread. 

Vermeychuk opened the email by discussing the current impact of monkeypox on NJ’s residents.

“As of August 24, 2022, the New Jersey Department of Health reported 450 probable and confirmed cases of monkeypox in N.J,” Vermeychuk wrote. “Though the number of monkeypox cases are increasing and it is likely we will see cases within our campus community, the risk of monkeypox to the campus community remains low at this time.”

Monkeypox cases have not been found on campus yet, but Vermeychuk says that it is very possible for cases to show up eventually. 

According to the email sent by Vermeychuk, Monkeypox spreads through close contact with others, direct contact with open wounds and body fluids. Since monkeypox is spread through close contact, this includes sexual contact even though the virus is not considered as a sexually transmitted disease (STD). 

“Once exposed to the virus, a person usually develops symptoms of the illness within 21 days,” Vermeychuk wrote in the email. “Symptoms include skin lesions (rash) that may be located on or near the genitals, and could be on other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.”

During this time of exposure, the College advises that a person should isolate themselves completely from others to prevent a spread. 

“The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing,” Vermeychuk wrote. “The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. Other symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, chills, swollen lymph glands, muscle aches, headache, exhaustion, and cold-like symptoms. If a person has these symptoms and are unsure if they have Monkeypox, they could confirm their diagnosis by going to a doctor and having their lesion/wound tested.”

Students around campus expressed their fear regarding the virus.

“It does scare me that I have a higher risk of contracting monkeypox since I live on campus, but I’m gonna be around commuters and people living off campus and they could get exposed too,” said sophomore psychology major Dani Caballero. “It’s a double-edged sword honestly.”

Vermeychuk mentioned that monkeypox cases at the College are currently low, and that preventative measures are in place to keep students safe. 

“The good news is that the spread is not correlating to hospitalizations, intensive care unit beds, or deaths,” Vermeychuk wrote. “Monkeypox is rarely fatal, but it does require a long isolation period from others until the skin lesions have completely healed, the scabs have fallen off, and new skin has formed.” 

To prevent the spread of the virus, students should limit skin-to-skin contact with unknown people, wash their hands, do not touch the open wounds of someone with monkeypox, do not share clothing or bedding with unknown people, do not share utensils with unknown people, and do not kiss, cuddle, or have intercourse with someone that was diagnosed with monkeypox. 

“Recent news about the monkeypox virus spreading a little more every day is definitely concerning to me as a student and as a person,” said freshman psychology major Alexander Vance. “I am staying hopeful that numbers will stay low and the virus never makes its way to campus.”

According to the email, if a student tests positive for Monkeypox, they need to inform Student Health Services at 609-771-2889. Next, if the student is living on campus, they also need to email the housing department at housing@tcnj.edu. Students will be required to leave campus and isolate at home for two-to-four weeks. To return to campus, students must be cleared by Student Health Services. The rash must be completely gone, clear skin, and the student will be eligible to schedule their clearance appointment and return to campus. 





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