University of Texas prepares for potential spread of monkeypox
Over the past two years, there has been much discussion about the COVID-19 protocols put in place when children returned to campus. Yet this fall, some students like Rachel Vickery are worried about the spread of monkeypox.
“Any virus can really spread easily in such a concentrated area,” she said. “I lived in the dorm and I feel like everyone was sick just because we’re all so close.”
UT Freshman Annie Fu shares similar concerns.
“If someone has it and is sitting in a conference room, and then I’m sitting in the same seat, that’s slightly concerning,” she said.
Despite thousands of students huddled in classrooms, cafeterias and dormitories, Community Care’s associate director of sexual health programs Dr. Michael Stefanowicz said there should be no reason to s ‘worry.
“Attending a class or hanging out with friends in a college dorm, social events where people are maybe huddled together, shoulder to shoulder — all of these are categorically very low risk,” he said.
With 93 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Travis County, local leaders have declared monkeypox a public health emergency.
“From a health equity perspective, this virus disproportionately affects gay and bisexual men,” Stefanowicz said.
According to health experts, monkeypox is primarily sexually transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. With that in mind, Stefanowicz offered this advice to stop the spread.
“Consider limiting sexual partners to a smaller group of intimate partners, if possible,” he said.
Mickael Topiol, an exchange student in Texas, is looking forward to the fall semester while trying to fend off the pandemic.
“Coming here, I really like it, I’m really looking forward to having some sort of post-pandemic life, so I hope monkeypox doesn’t come here to interrupt this,” Topiol said.
KXAN has contacted UT University Health Services regarding its response to monkeypox. He responded with the following statement:
“The university has mitigation protocols for this infectious disease. The risk to the wider campus community remains low and the monkeypox virus does not spread easily without close contact. Like other diseases with similar modes of transmission, we provide public health education to the community, appropriate training for healthcare providers, and collaborate with key stakeholders on all environmental strategies necessary to reduce incidence. or spread within our population.