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Last Updated: August 31, 2022

Tufts is monitoring monkeypox developments in the United States and around the world and will continue to adjust the university’s recommendations and response accordingly.

Monkeypox Symptoms

  • Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a rash resembling pimples or blisters anywhere on the body.

Monkeypox Spread

Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, skin-to-skin contact including:

  • Direct contact or intimate contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions of an infected person.
  • Transmission can occur during intimate contact such as during oral, anal, and vaginal sex or touching the genitals or anus of a person with monkeypox.
  • Monkeypox may also be spread by prolonged face-to-face contact that may occur when hugging, massaging, and kissing an infected person.
  • Touching fabrics and objects during sex that were used by a person with monkeypox and have not been disinfected, such as bedding, towels, fetish gear, and sex toys.
  • A pregnant person can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

A person is infectious to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2–4 weeks.

  • Scientists do not yet know if the virus can be spread when someone has no symptoms, how often it is spread through respiratory secretions, or when a person with monkeypox symptoms might be more likely to spread the virus through respiratory secretions.
  • It also remains unclear whether monkeypox can be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or feces.

Anyone can be infected with monkeypox regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

  • While gay, bisexual, and queer men and transgender and non-binary people who have sex with men have been disproportionately impacted thus far, inaccurate media messaging that this is somehow a “gay illness” is wrong.
  • Such messages create stigma, perpetuate misconceptions, harm people who are vulnerable, and prevent people who are at risk from taking precautions.

Explore the CDC's prevention guidance here: Safer Sex, Social Gatherings, and Monkeypox

Vaccination, and Treatment Information

Monkeypox Exposure

If you have had contact with a person diagnosed with monkeypox, please follow specific guidance from your healthcare provider and local public health department.

  • Residential students should notify Tufts Health Service at 617-627-3350.
  • Employees and non-residential students should notify their PCP of their exposure. 
  • Tufts School of Dental Medicine students and employees who work in a clinic, please report any workplace exposure to Tufts Occupational Health Services at 617-627-6500. 
  • Tufts School of Medicine third- and fourth-year students should report workplace exposures to their clerkship director. 
  • Faculty/staff/employees should report any workplace exposure to Tufts Occupational Health Services at 617-627-6500.   

All Students and Employees Working in Clinical Settings

  • When caring for patients with suspected or diagnosed monkeypox, please follow local clinical and hospital infection control policies.
  • Any workplace exposures should be reported to the local infection control.

If You Experience Symptoms

Please isolate yourself from others immediately and do not report to work or school until you are evaluated and cleared to do so by a healthcare professional. Testing can be arranged when indicated.

If You Are Diagnosed With Monkeypox

  • You must isolate yourself and should not attend work, classes, or other in-person activities.
  • A person diagnosed with monkeypox should avoid close contact with others, wear a well-fitting mask and make sure that the rash is completely covered.
  • Discuss possible treatment options and the duration of isolation with your healthcare provider.
  • Residential students diagnosed with monkeypox will be assigned to temporary isolation housing and will receive meal delivery.

Missing School or Work

If you need to miss school or work due to illness or isolation, we encourage you to take good care of yourself, your health, and your well-being.

You do not need to disclose your diagnosis to your instructors or supervisors.

Residential Students:

  • If you need to miss class, let your course instructors know that you will be absent and follow your school’s policy for excused absences.
  • Notify Student Health Service at 617-627-3350 (Medford/Somerville, SMFA students).

Non-Residential Students: 

  • If you need to miss class, let your course instructors know that you will be absent and follow your school’s policy for excused absences.

Students Working in Clinical Settings:

  • Notify Tufts Occupational Health Services at 617-627-6500 of the exposure or diagnosis.
  • Students working on clinical rotations should notify their relevant rotation or clerkship directors and the Office of Student Affairs.  

Faculty, Staff and Students:

  • Communicate with your manager that you will miss work.
  • Contact Marathon Health (Jumbo Health) at 617-627-0467.

Confidentiality

Medical information must be treated with great care and confidentiality.

  • Tufts Occupational Health Services, Tufts Student Health Service, PCPs, and local boards of health will all carry out their responsibilities to ensure that appropriate contact tracing and environmental disinfection take place as needed.
  • Students and employees are encouraged to notify the relevant contacts as outlined above to report their own exposures, symptoms, and diagnoses.
  • Managers, instructors, and other community members who become aware of a case or suspected case should remember to respect the medical privacy of all students and employees.

Questions

If you have a specific concern that this page does not address and cannot find what you need through MA DPH, CDC, or your local or state health department, please contact:

  • Your PCP or healthcare provider
  • ​​​​Tufts Health Service at 617-627-3350 (Medford/Somerville and SMFA students) 
  • Tufts Medical Center Respiratory Infection Clinic at 617-636-3164 (Boston Health Sciences Campus) 
  • Tufts Occupational Health Services at 617-627-6500 (all employees and all Grafton students)

References

https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html

https://www.mass.gov/monkeypox