COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — There are 75 confirmed Monkeypox cases in the state of Ohio. With college students from all over set to return to campuses in Columbus, should universities be concerned about the spread among their students?
Unlike the Coronavirus, health professionals like Dr. Joseph Gastaldo said because of the way the virus is transmitted, there isn’t a huge concern over an outbreak on campuses. Still, this doesn’t mean students shouldn’t be careful.
“If you go to college you need to know about Monkeypox,” said Dr. Gastaldo. “If you are an at-risk population that we are seeing Monkeypox in, specifically men who have sex with men, think about getting the vaccine if you qualify for it. Understand that if you have any type of undiagnosed skin lesion you need to get tested.”
Beyond getting tested, Dr. Christina Liscynesky said practicing safe sex protocols recommended by the CDC and limiting your partners is important.
“Just to be aware, you know, if you’re sexually active with multiple partners or have close contact with different types of people, not necessarily sexual contact but just very very close contact, to be aware of ways to mitigate your risk,” said Dr. Liscynesky.
While students can’t get it just from being in the same class or bar as students who may have it, students do need to be aware of what these lesions look like and test and isolate if they are concerned they may have it.
“If anybody has any suspicious skin lesions, especially if they’re in the at-risk community where we’re seeing most of the Monkeypox cases, those people need to stop what they’re doing and get tested and isolate themselves until their test results come back,” said Dr. Gastaldo.
He said it’s also important to report if you’ve tested positive so contact tracing can begin.
“If somebody in the dorms is confirmed to have monkeypox it’s important to do contact tracing as quickly as possible,” said Dr. Gastaldo. “And to offer the vaccines to those individuals, perhaps people who have the same bedroom or share the same bathroom.”
NBC4 reached out to universities in the Columbus area about their plan to prevent or address a spread of Monkeypox on campus.
Ohio State University, Ohio University and Capital University all say they are monitoring case numbers.
OSU said it will provide students with information as needed OU said it plans to provide students with information at the start of the semester and Capital university says it has not yet finalized its Monkeypox protocols.