Monkeypox cases: Fall school semester could amplify spread, health experts say

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — With cases of monkeypox surging across the country and here in the tri-state area, health experts say college students slated to return for the fall need to proceed with caution.

Soon the universities of Philadelphia and beyond will be teeming with students again.

On Wednesday said Dr. Delana Wardlaw of Temple Health System that monkeypox could very well be a factor this fall semester.

“Everything is possible. We just have to make sure we’re using policies and procedures to reduce transmission,” said Dr. Wardlaw.

SEE ALSO: Philadelphia Launches Monkeypox Tracker; Vaccine in limited quantity

She wants students to understand how the virus spreads, which can certainly happen when people are in close quarters.

“First you want to make sure you’re not sharing personal items,” Wardlaw said. “Secondly, you want to make sure you aren’t sharing sheets or anything like that, or towels or anything personal. Third, you want to be aware that close contact, skin-to-skin contact, tightens it up.”

If someone gets it, she says, it’s imperative that they be isolated.

“The sustained contact is what’s causing it, the skin-to-skin contact. When people show signs or symptoms, they have to be responsible for it,” Wardlaw said.

SEE ALSO: “It Still Hurts”: A Philadelphia Man With Monkeypox Shares His Story

Larry Jackson III, 29, of North Philly, said he recently found out he had monkeypox after several doctor visits.

He has endured painful symptoms including the pockmarks for eight days now.

“It still hurts like some of the bumps hurt, itch. My lymph nodes, my neck were swollen and my body ached,” said Larry Jackson III.

Here’s a breakdown of cases as of August 1, according to the CDC:

Meanwhile, the monkeypox vaccine has been rolled out in various locations across the country.

But the Chester County Department of Health director says they only have enough vaccines for those who have been in close contact.

It’s not enough for the general public.

“We don’t know what that’s going to look like, how fast it’s going to spread, and how many close contacts we’re going to have,” said Jeanne Franklin, the director of the Chester County Health Department.

Wardlaw stressed that one of the other most effective ways to prevent the spread of this virus is to wash your hands.

SEE ALSO: Monkeypox: Everything You Need to Know About Symptoms, Spread, Treatment, and Vaccinations

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