Northwestern releases monkeypox preparation and prevention guidance


Daily file illustration by Olivia Abeyta

Students who contract monkeypox will not be permitted to attend class and will be required to isolate themselves, the University announced.

Isabel Funk, Summer Editor

Students living in on-campus housing will be required to isolate themselves off campus if they contract monkeypox, the University announced Tuesday. 

Based on current public health information, the University does not expect a large number of cases on campus, Northwestern Medicine Student Health Service Director of Operations Anita Opdycke said in an email to the community detailing the university’s response.

Monkeypox is a rare viral illness that begins with flu-like symptoms and progresses to a rash with lesions across the body. Most infections last two to four weeks and transmission primarily occurs through close physical contact with bodily fluids and other contaminated surfaces. 

Evanston reported its first probable case of monkeypox at the end of June. In early August, the U.S. declared monkeypox a public health emergency. As of Monday, the U.S. has recorded nearly 9,000 cases since May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Students who do contract the virus will not be permitted to attend class or other in-person activities until they have healed. In some cases, this may require a medical leave of absence, the email said. 

The University advised students living off campus to “identify appropriate solutions to isolate for the recommended duration” and take precautions if they cannot fully isolate. If students living on campus cannot isolate off campus, NU has a limited number of rooms available, the email said. 

There is currently one monkeypox vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration: the Jynneos vaccine. The CDC recommends vaccination only to those at heightened risk.  Northwestern Medicine’s Infectious Disease Clinic provides vaccinations based on public health guidance. 

While most cases of monkeypox in the U.S. have been spreading between men who have sex with men, monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease and can spread among people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.

The University was not immediately available to respond to questions regarding off-campus isolation expenses and support for LGBTQ+ students. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @isabeldfunk

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