August 11, 2022

Update on Monkeypox and Preventative Steps

As you may know, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) are tracking the outbreak of Monkeypox, which has been declared a public health emergency in the United States. As with all public health concerns, Goucher is monitoring this situation closely and working with local health officials to create a plan to contain possible cases that may arise on campus.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare, viral disease that may present as a rash that looks like blisters or pimples and flu-like symptoms in some people before a rash develops. Most people recover in 2-4 weeks, but the disease can be serious for children or people who are immunocompromised or pregnant.  


How is Monkeypox spread?

According to the CDC, Monkeypox is transmittable in several ways, including:

  • Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or bodily fluids. Transmission occurs in most cases through direct contact.
  • Although Monkeypox is not an STI, it can be transmitted during sex due to skin-to-skin contact.
  • Respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face interaction or physical contact such as kissing, cuddling, or intercourse.
  • Touching used items (such as clothes or linens) that an infected person previously used.
  • Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

Anyone who has high-risk direct contact with a person with Monkeypox can be infected, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Goucher College is committed to creating a community where all members feel welcomed, valued and safe. Goucher does not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind. The Campus Climate Education Team offers resources and reporting options for students, staff, and faculty.


What are the symptoms of Monkeypox?

Symptoms typically begin 5-21 days after exposure and include swollen lymph nodes, high fevers, headaches, chills, and muscle aches. Typically, the rash can appear within 1-3 days of symptoms beginning. The rash usually looks like blisters or pimples before forming a scab and falling off. The rash can occur on any part of the body, including the face, mouth, chest, genitals, and/or anus. This infection typically lasts for 2-4 weeks.

Individuals are contagious from when symptoms appear to when sores have healed, a new layer of skin has formed, and scabs have fallen off. 


What to do if you experience symptoms?

Call your healthcare provider, and for students, the Student Health Center right away. You should avoid close physical contact with others until you are evaluated. The Student Health Center offers Monkeypox testing for students through local labs. 

All positive cases must be reported. Students must immediately notify the Student Health Center by emailing or by calling 410-337-6050. Employees must immediately notify the Office of Human Resources by emailing

If your healthcare provider suspects or confirms you have Monkeypox, you must isolate away from others until the rash has resolved, the scabs have fallen off, and new skin has formed. Then, be sure to follow the isolation instructions of the CDC and your healthcare provider. 


How can you reduce your risk and prevent spread?

The CDC offers the following prevention steps:

  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone with a rash that looks like a Monkeypox rash.
  • Avoid kissing, hugging, cuddling, or having sex with someone who has symptoms consistent with Monkeypox.
  • Do not share utensils or drinks or handle the bedding, towels, or clothing of someone who has symptoms consistent with Monkeypox. 
  • Practice good handwashing hygiene and regularly clean surfaces, bedding, and towels.   

The CDC lists two Monkeypox vaccines that may help prevent people from contracting the disease or reducing the risk of serious illness. However, because supplies are limited, local health departments prioritize individuals at higher risk for infection. 

We understand that news of a new public health emergency on top of the COVID-19 pandemic can be concerning and cause feelings of anxiousness and uncertainty. Students are encouraged to visit the Student Counseling Center’s website to utilize the services and resources that Goucher has to support emotional well-being.  Employees also have various available resources. Learn more by reviewing the Mental Health and Wellness flyer.