As you all may be aware, the Biden administration declared monkeypox to be a public health emergency in the U.S. on August 4, 2022. Both California as well as Los Angeles County have also made similar declarations recently.

First, I would like to share with you a few current facts regarding monkeypox:

  • Monkeypox is a viral infection
  • As of August 4, 2022, there have been more than 6,600 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico
  • While this is a cause for concern, thankfully, monkeypox is rarely fatal and no deaths have been reported in the U.S. so far. However, there have been eight reported deaths from this disease across the world during the current outbreak, primarily in Africa and other regions where the health systems aren’t as robust
  • Early signs may include fever, muscle aches, headache, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion. A rash may also develop, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body, including the hands, feet, eyes, mouth and/or genitals. This rash can sometimes be quite painful in nature
  • Infection can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed, usually 2-4 weeks
  • Current transmission/spread is primarily through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact
  • There is no specific treatment for monkeypox virus infections. Treatment for monkeypox infection is mainly supportive care (e.g., easing the symptoms by taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever or pain)
  •  However, since monkeypox virus and smallpox virus are genetically similar, antiviral drugs and vaccines developed to protect against smallpox may sometimes be used to treat and prevent monkeypox virus infections, currently only in those at highest risk
  • Vaccine supplies to prevent monkeypox remain limited currently. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has established priority criteria to administer first dose of vaccine to as many people who are at higher risk for monkeypox exposure as possible. When supply improves, they will make second doses available. Vaccines are not currently available for administration to private clinics such as Student Health Services

As with the last public health emergency declared in the U.S. in January 2020 in response to COVID-19, Student Health Services (SHS) at The Claremont Colleges continues to closely monitor the situation and is in touch with our local public health officials at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health for regular updates. SHS current response includes:

  • Keeping our staff up to date on the latest monkeypox information
  • Keeping up to date with our laboratory partner on proper methods of collecting and submitting samples from suspicious lesions for testing
  • Creation of a webpage with more detailed and regularly updated information to keep the campus community informed on monkeypox
  • Reinforcing proper cleaning and hygiene habits, both within our department as well as across the consortium


    Prateek Jindal, DO

    AVP for Health and Wellness