As we prepare for an exciting school year, it’s vitally important that you make smart decisions to protect yourself and others from viruses and other illnesses, including COVID-19, monkeypox and the flu. By doing so, you will be healthy and contribute to keeping the entire Rowan University community safe and strong.
Update on COVID-19
During the pandemic, the university community has learned how to manage the spread of COVID-19 and implement safety measures that protect our community members well.
This fall, the university will continue to follow current CDC and New Jersey state protocols. The Wellness Center will continue to work with county and state medical examiners, track cases throughout the region and on our campuses, and monitor the general health of students through wastewater testing.
Although masks are only mandatory in clinical settings, we again ask everyone to support people’s choice to protect themselves and their loved ones from illness by wearing masks.
We ask that members of our community continue to take care of themselves and each other by practicing good hand hygiene and taking appropriate precautions when feeling sick.
Free COVID-19 shots will be available Friday, September 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Robinson Circle, Glassboro Campus. Vaccines are available for all students and staff. No reservations required.
There has been a lot of media coverage of monkeypox, especially since it was declared a national emergency. Although there have been no deaths from the virus in the United States, cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in 49 states, including New Jersey.
Here is some useful information about monkeypox:
Monkeypox is primarily transmitted through close, personal skin-to-skin contact, such as:
- sexual activity;
- direct contact with a monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with the virus;
- contact with respiratory secretions;
- or prolonged exposure to fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with the virus.
Monkeypox initially presents with flu-like symptoms, including fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle and back pain, headache, and respiratory symptoms. The disease then progresses to lesions that will go through several stages before healing. The rash may initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms appear until the rash has completely healed and a new layer of skin has formed. The illness usually lasts two to four weeks. Symptoms usually begin within three weeks of exposure to the virus.
Although the rash may look like chicken pox, the virus is not related to chicken pox. Although it is often spread through close skin-to-skin contact, it is not a sexually transmitted disease.
Most people with monkeypox make a full recovery within two to four weeks without the need for medical treatment.
Some with weakened immune systems may require treatment from a healthcare provider. There is no specific treatment for monkeypox, but drugs and vaccines similar to those used for smallpox can be effective.
Vaccines are in limited supply in New Jersey and are only available to people who have experienced the following in the past 14 days: have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus; attended an event with known exposure to monkeypox; or you have had multiple sexual partners or anonymous sexual contacts in an area with known monkeypox.
Take care of yourself
According to the CDC, here are the best ways to protect yourself from monkeypox:
- Avoid close skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox. Do not kiss, hug, cuddle, or have sex with someone with a rash or scabs, and do not touch the rash or scabs of someone with the virus.
- Avoid contact with objects and materials that have been used by a person with monkeypox. This includes bed linen, towels and clothing as well as cutlery and glasses.
- Wash your hands often.
Finally, if you have a new or unexplained rash or other symptoms, avoid close or intimate contact with anyone until you are seen by a healthcare provider.
Monitoring and testing on campus
Rowan health officials are working closely with local and state health officials, as well as health systems, to identify new cases and minimize the transmission of monkeypox.
The Wellness Center can test for monkeypox in students who have lesions and who have symptoms and confirmed exposure to the virus. Testing involves taking a sample from the rash site. Routine testing is not available because the test requires the patient to have a rash.
The university community will be notified if there is a case of monkeypox on campus. Through contact tracing procedures, anyone who has come into contact with this individual will be notified privately and provided with training and referrals.
Because transmission of monkeypox is primarily through skin-to-skin contact, cancellations of large events, activities or classes are not expected.
Anyone with questions about the virus or anyone who has been exposed to monkeypox should contact the Wellness Center at 856-256-4333.
Remember that staying healthy requires commitment – to yourself and to others. For all health-related updates, including information on COVID-19 and flu clinics, please visit www.rowan.edu/wellness.
Wellness Center Director