Note: This letter originally appeared as an e-mail sent to the Hopkins community on August 19, 2022.
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:
In collaboration with our public health experts, we have been closely monitoring the spread of monkeypox and are working with a dedicated group of medical professionals to guide our community response to the virus. As we implemented with COVID, processes and protocols regarding any infectious disease are determined using evolving evidence-based research with the goal of keeping our community safe. Currently, we do not anticipate widespread changes to workplace or academic activities.
Yet, the reality of the spread across the US means we must be vigilant about understanding the virus as well as exercising preventive measures.
Unlike COVID-19, monkeypox is not a novel virus. Prior to 2022, the majority of monkeypox cases were reported in central and west African countries. Outbreaks beyond these regions were small and rarely fatal.
Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection but is generally spread through prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Anyone can contract monkeypox regardless of gender or sexual orientation. While recently reported cases are most prevalent among men who have sex with men, acts of discrimination and harassment or attempt to stigmatize a certain identity group run counter to our university values and policies.
Monkeypox in the U.S.
Over the past few months, almost 30,000 cases have been reported from more than 90 countries around the world and almost 10,000 cases have been reported in the United States. 349 cases have been reported in Maryland.
Additional information, including an FAQ page and a link to a recording of our recent monkeypox seminar, is available on the Johns Hopkins website.
Before going to a gathering or event, consider how much close, personal, skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur. Avoid rashes or sores you see on others and minimize skin-to-skin contact when possible. Talk with your sexual partner(s) about symptoms before contact.
Any student who suspects they have monkeypox should call our internal Student Health and Well-Being nurse line at 410-516-5709, seven days a week, between 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Any employee should reach out to their primary care provider.
Exposure and Testing
Per CDC guidance, individuals who have come in contact with someone who has monkeypox do not need to quarantine. They should closely monitor for signs and symptoms of monkeypox for 21 days from their last day of exposure. Individuals who suspect they may have monkeypox can only be tested if they have a rash or lesion.
CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox. Unfortunately, vaccines are in limited supply and currently distributed by local health departments, which determine who is eligible to receive a vaccine. We cannot currently administer monkeypox vaccines at the university.
Information about vaccine appointments and eligibility in Baltimore City are available on the Baltimore City Health Department website. As with COVID-19, we will work with the Johns Hopkins health system to broaden access to vaccines as they become available.
Faculty, staff, and students who are infected with monkeypox must isolate and must remain off university property until cleared to return by Student Heath or Occupational Health. Residential students who have monkeypox will need to move out of the residence halls and will be encouraged to move home due to the length of the isolation period and the care needed for those who are infected. Student Affairs personnel are available to assist students with this process.
We will continue to closely monitor public health conditions and institute measures to protect the health and safety of our community and our neighbors.
We look forward to seeing you on campus soon.
Professor and Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Vice Provost for Student Health & Well-Being
Professor, Vice Provost, and Chief Risk Officer