What to know about monkeypox as students return to campus

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 10:19 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - It is the return of students at the University of Wisconsin Stout in Menomonie.

Eager and ready for the challenges of college, Vinni reacts to the news of a reported monkeypox case in Dunn county.

“Well, it’s kind of intimidating,” Vinni said. He is an incoming freshman and part of the university’s class of 2026. He is also an international student coming all this way from India.

“I think it’s more of an impactful thing for me because, you know, freshmen students like us are very excited and very on board to start college and to enjoy the college life, especially after the coronavirus pandemic, where we couldn’t even go to our high schools.”

There shouldn’t be cause for alarm says Dunn County health department director k-t gallagher.\

KT Gallagher who is the director and health officer at the Dunn County Health Department says there is no cause for alarm.

“We know that that individual is doing really well and is isolating at home. We know that that individual does have additional contacts that the health department has worked with both our local, state and interstate partners to identify so that they know that their own what their risks are,” said Gallagher about the one presumed case of monkey pox in the county.

She urges everyone to learn about the signs of monkeypox to help prevent an outbreak of the virus.

“Any time you’re within a close social circle where you have a lot of folks that spend a lot of time together in really close contact, we want to make sure that people are, you know, are washing their hands a lot. Monitoring themselves for any kind of symptoms”

Those symptoms include as follows:

  • Unexplained rash that develops into hard, round, fluid or puss-filled lesions on the skin or mouth
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache

According to the county health department the monkeypox rash develops within one to three days after experiencing a fever. Some may experience a rash or sores at first, followed by other symptoms. Some could also just develop a rash.

“Oh, that worries me. I mean, makes me feel like I shouldn’t be going out and doing stuff, but that’s already on my mind with COVID as well,” said Ella.

Ella is a transfer student, her mother, Sandy, who is a doctor hopes one thing for her daughter.

“I’m kind of aware of the ways that it’s transferred, we think. And so we’ve talked about that and are hoping, you know, that will be thoughtful about it. And and I hope other people are thoughtful about it as well,” said Sandy.

To help avoid stigmatization that could lead to outbreaks. It is all about honesty says Gallagher.

“So a couple of things that parents should know before sending their kids off to school is they encourage their children to have open and honest conversations with their medical provider... Having open and honest conversations with partners as well as with friends about any kind of exposure that they may have”

It’s unclear if or how the university plans to respond to the presumed case of monkeypox in Dunn county.

Health officials say while it takes 2 to 4 weeks to recover form monkey pox, those with compromised immune systems, who are pregnant or have a skin condition may have poorer outcomes from the infection.

If you have any questions about monkeypox, you can reach out to your local health department.