Mpox is not a new virus, there are vaccines and readily available knowledge on prevention and treatment.

The recent rise in global cases has led to the declaration of mpox as a national health emergency. It is important to know that anyone can be infected with and spread mpox (MPX). As well, this virus can infect people of all sexual orientations, gender identities, races, and ethnicities. Current messaging about mpox being a “gay” illness creates stigma, perpetuates misconceptions, harms those who are most vulnerable, and prevents reaching all who are at risk. Stigma prevents people from seeking care, and can endanger people’s health and safety.

The information below serves as an accurate source of details related to the symptoms, prevention and treatment of mpox, and we remind our community of the emphasis we place on diversity and acceptance as we work to support and protect each other.

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Mpox is a viral disease that may cause a rash and is sometimes preceded by cold or flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle Ache or backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • Rash (such as pimples, blisters, or scabs) which may appear in varying locations depending on the stage of the infection
  • Rash may appear as extremely painful lesions surrounding or inside the anal, genital, or oral areas

Mpox can be spread from the time symptoms start until all the sores have healed and a new layer of skin has formed. It is spread through:

  • Close physical contact with infected persons (such as kissing, hugging, cuddling or sex)
  • Contact with infected body fluids
  • Exposure to respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact
  • Exposure to personal items, such as towels, bedding or clothing that previously touched the rash or body fluids of an infected person.
  • Infected animals can spread mpox virus to people, and it is possible that those infected can spread mpox to animals through close contact. 

Transmission of the virus does NOT appear to occur in situations such as:

  • Casual conversations
  • Walking by someone with mpox
  • Touching common public items such as doorknobs or keypad

If you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone with mpox, stay isolated and call Health Services at 781-239-6363 or your healthcare professional.

Take the following precautions:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like mpox.
  • Avoid contact with personal items (such as eating utensils or cups, bedding, towels, or clothing) that may be used by an infected person.
  • If engaging in sexual activity, practice safer sex:
    • Limit your number of sexual partners
    • Do not have sex with someone known to be infected with mpox
    • Avoid having sex with someone with a rash that looks like mpox; condoms may help, but condoms alone are unlikely to prevent transmission of mpox
    • Wash your hands and any shared items, such as towels, clothing or bedding, after sex
  • There are two mpox vaccines. Please visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for detailed information regarding vaccine eligibility and availability.
  • More information is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Students who test positive for Mpox are required to isolate. Isolation generally lasts from two to four weeks, until all lesions have healed and a new layer of skin has formed. Isolation space on campus is limited. Non-residential students who test positive must isolate off campus. Residential students are asked to isolate off campus. Students who test positive and must remain on campus will be relocated. Students in on-campus isolation must remain in their isolation space as often and long as possible with dining accommodations arranged on a case by case basis. Students will have the option of being assigned a case manager who will check in daily to help answer questions and explain the process.

It is the individual student’s responsibility to notify their faculty members of an illness. Please work with faculty to ensure you have access to class work while sick. Please follow the guidelines outlined in each course syllabus. As class policies may differ, check with faculty on absent policies.

Positive individuals should avoid contact with animals, including pets, to prevent spreading the virus.

Mpox is sensitive to many household disinfectants, and disinfection is recommended for all areas (home and vehicle) where time was spent, as well as for items considered to be potentially contaminated.

Linens, clothing and towels require special handling. Positive individuals should handle and launder their own items. Gently place items in a laundry bag, avoid shaking and rough handling that could spread infectious particles. Hot water wash and machine dry are recommended. Do not wash potentially contaminated linens with the linens from others. If laundry or cleaning and disinfection is done by a non-infected person, at minimum, gloves and a well fitting mask should be worn.

Hand hygiene with an alcohol-based hand rub or handwashing with soap and water is recommended.

Advanced cleaning and disinfecting methods and protocols will continue to be deployed on campus. Enhanced air filtration systems implemented over the past year will remain in place.

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