MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) – A West Virginia University student tested positive for monkeypox on Wednesday, according to an email sent to students.
The student, who resides off-campus, was seen by healthcare providers and is currently isolating and recovering. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, there have been eight confirmed cases of monkeypox in West Virginia.
Close contacts of the student have been identified and are being notified by the Monongalia County Health Department and the WVU CARE Team is offering support as WVU Medicine Student Health monitors the case.
Monkeypox is a rare disease primarily spread through close, personal and/or intimate contact with an individual infected with the monkeypox virus. This includes direct skin-to-skin contact with monkeypox rash or bodily fluids from an infected person. Although smallpox was declared eradicated worldwide in 1980 according to the World Health Organization, symptoms closely resemble monkeypox including fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.
“Currently, the risk of monkeypox transmission on our campus and across the state is very low and with proper safety precautions, there is no need for elevated concern,” said Dr. Carmen Burrell, medical director of WVU Medicine Student Health and Urgent Care.
“You can prevent infection by avoiding direct contact with rashes, scabs or body fluids from a person diagnosed with monkeypox and wearing a mask if you are in prolonged close contact with someone who has symptoms or a confirmed infection, such as in a health care setting,” Burrell continued. “Anyone exposed should monitor for symptoms for 21 days and if symptoms develop, isolate until evaluation by a healthcare professional can be obtained.”
The university said it will not send public communications for each new case, but those who are identified as having possible exposure will be notified and asked to follow instructions if they are contacted. WVU will continue to collaborate with Monongalia County Health Department to increase awareness, provide educational resources and share information about vaccine availability.
The Monongalia County Health Department was one of the first in West Virginia to offer monkeypox vaccines during a clinic in August.