In a Friday afternoon email, the University provided new resources and information in response to the ongoing outbreak of the monkeypox virus.
In Tompkins County, the first case of monkeypox was reported on July 19. According to the New York State Department of Health, as of Aug. 19, there have been a total of 2,744 confirmed cases of the monkeypox virus in New York State.
“Given the spread of the virus across New York, the United States and the world, we are preparing for the possibility of monkeypox cases within our campus community,” wrote Cornell Health Medical Director Jada Hamilton.
The email included a link to Cornell Health’s new Monkeypox: What to know page which provides details about the virus and its vaccine, treatment, current campus preventative measures and isolation protocols.
The statement also discussed who is at risk of contracting the virus, specifically those in “close contact” with someone who has monkeypox, which is spread through skin-to-skin contact, exposure to respiratory droplets/saliva or contact with objects or fabric used by a person with monkeypox. It also outlined monkeypox symptoms, which include the experience of flu-like symptoms followed by rashes and pimple-like sores, that usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus.
“Students should consult with Cornell Health if they develop sores or a rash consistent with the infection,” said Hamilton in the statement. “Importantly, while these symptoms are uncomfortable, monkeypox rarely causes severe illness.”
The email noted that Cornell Health clinicians will provide testing and medical evaluation if needed, and that any individuals who are tested may need to be isolated while awaiting results. If the individual tests positive for the virus, they must remain in isolation until cleared by their health care provider. Cornell Health’s Student Disability Service will work with students to minimize the virus’ impact on their studies.
Hamilton also encouraged individuals to seek information from reliable and trusted sources.
“Our campus is a supportive community, and mutual respect is a core value I know we all share,” Hamilton wrote. “It is important that we continue to seek information only from trusted, reliable sources as we continue to learn more and refrain from any language or behaviors that stigmatize this infection.