The following message about UCLA’s response to monkeypox was sent to the campus community on Aug. 8.
What you need to know:
- Monkeypox has been declared a public health emergency.
- Monkeypox can infect anyone regardless of age, gender identity, or sexual orientation, but you can take measures to protect yourself.
- Those who suspect they have monkeypox should immediately isolate and contact their healthcare provider.
- UCLA is currently working to educate the UCLA community, vaccinate high-risk populations and implement campus testing, treatment and isolation programs.
Dear Bruin Community:
We are closely monitoring news of monkeypox in the Los Angeles region, across the state and throughout the world. The World Health Organization recently declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern, while Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles County (PDF) have declared a state of emergency to increase access to public health resources. In addition, a federal announcement declaring monkeypox a public health emergency was made Aug. 4. The health and safety of our community is our top priority and we urge all Bruins to stay informed and take precautions to protect themselves and others from this virus.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox virus is in the same family of viruses as smallpox, though it typically displays milder symptoms. Monkeypox symptoms may include a flu-like illness with fever, decreased energy, swollen lymph nodes and body aches. Within a few days after these symptoms appear, people may develop a rash.
Monkeypox virus can infect anyone regardless of age, gender identity or sexual orientation. The risk of monkeypox infection to the general population is low, however certain behavioral factors increase the risk of transmission. In this outbreak thus far, 99 percent of cases in the U.S. have occurred in men, 94 percent of whom reported recent male-to-male sexual or close intimate contact, according to the CDC.
People exposed to monkeypox typically develop symptoms within three weeks of exposure. Monkeypox is spread person-to-person primarily through contact with sores, scabs or body fluids during close contact while kissing, hugging, massaging, cuddling or sexual activity. Monkeypox can also spread through contact with materials that have been used by someone with monkeypox, including clothing and bedding. Although less common, it can also be transmitted through prolonged face-to-face contact with someone who has the virus.
Infections associated with this outbreak have been primarily treated at home with over-the-counter medication. Most patients have not required hospitalization, and life-threatening illnesses or deaths are rare. Investigational antiviral treatments are available for individuals with severe symptoms and people at high risk of severe illness.
Vaccination with the smallpox vaccine may provide some protection against monkeypox. Vaccine supply is currently very limited in the United States and those at highest risk of exposure to monkeypox are being prioritized, including those who have a known exposure to someone with monkeypox.
What should I do if I suspect I might have monkeypox?
- Isolate from others until you have been assessed by a healthcare professional. Cover any rashes with clothing and wear a mask. Avoid close contact with pets.
- Faculty/Staff: Call your primary care physician’s office.
- Students: Call the Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center to schedule an appointment for testing.
- Let your healthcare provider know that you are concerned that you might have monkeypox since additional infection prevention precautions need to be taken prior to your visit.
- Most cases of monkeypox are mild and symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medications. Some investigational treatments may be available for people with severe symptoms or those at high risk of severe disease.
- People with monkeypox should isolate until all of their rash has resolved, scabs have fallen off, and their skin is fully healed. This may take 2-4 weeks.
What is UCLA doing to prepare for monkeypox?
- UCLA is working with LACDPH to vaccinate individuals in high-risk populations against monkeypox based on criteria established by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, including a history of close contact with someone with monkeypox.
- UCLA is educating students and staff on monkeypox.
- UCLA is providing access to testing and treatment for people infected with monkeypox.
- UCLA is developing isolation protocols for students who become infected with monkeypox.
Where can I learn more about monkeypox?
For additional information, please visit UCLA Health’s monkeypox web page or the UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center’s monkeypox web page. Other resources include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
We will continue to keep you informed of important changes and campus impacts in the coming weeks as the scope of this latest public health challenge evolves.
Administrative Vice Chancellor
Co-chair, COVID-19 Response and Recovery Task Force
Monroe Gorden Jr.
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs
Dr. John Mazziotta
Vice Chancellor, UCLA Health Sciences
CEO, UCLA Health