Health experts: Fall school semester could amplify spread of monkeypox

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ByBob Brooks via WPVI logo
Thursday, August 4, 2022 5:01AM
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Health experts say college students need to proceed with caution as monkeypox cases rise around the Philadelphia region.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- With cases of monkeypox on the rise across the country and here in the tri-state area, health experts say college students set to return in the fall need to proceed with caution.

Soon the universities in Philadelphia and beyond will be bustling with students again.

On Wednesday, Dr. Delana Wardlaw with the Temple Health System said monkeypox could very well be a factor come this fall semester.

"Anything is possible. We just have to make sure that we're using policies and procedures to reduce the transmission," said Dr. Wardlaw.

SEE ALSO: Philadelphia launches monkeypox tracker; vaccine in limited supply

She wants students to understand how the virus spreads, which can certainly happen when people are together in close quarters.

"First, you want to make sure you're not sharing any personal items," said Wardlaw. "Two, you want to make sure you're not sharing any bedding or anything like that or towels or anything of personal nature. Three, you want to be aware it's contracted through close contact, skin-to-skin contact."

If someone gets it, she says it's imperative they isolate.

"The prolonged contact is what's driving this, the skin-to-skin contact. If people are showing signs or symptoms, they need to be responsible," said Wardlaw.

SEE ALSO: 'It still hurts': Philadelphia man with monkeypox shares story

Larry Jackson III, 29, of North Philadelphia, said after multiple doctor visits he recently found out he had monkeypox.

He's now endured eight days of painful symptoms including the pox marks.

"It still hurts, like some of the bumps hurt, itches. My lymph nodes, my throat was swollen and my body was aching," said Jackson.

Here is a breakdown of cases as of August 1, according to the CDC:

  • Philadelphia: 82 cases
  • Pennsylvania: 170 cases
  • New Jersey: 155 cases
  • Delaware: 5 cases

Meanwhile, the monkeypox vaccine has been rolling out to various locations around the country.

But the director of the Chester County Health Department says they only have enough vaccines for those who've had close contact.

There's not enough for the general public yet.

"We don't know what this is going to look like, like in terms of how quickly it will spread and how many close contacts we'll have," said Jeanne Franklin, the director of the Chester County Health Department.

Wardlaw made it a point to stress one of the other most effective methods in preventing the spread of this virus is to wash your hands.

SEE ALSO: Monkeypox: Everything you need to know about symptoms, spread, treatment and vaccines