Monkeypox Information

Grinnell College Student Health and Wellness services is closely monitoring emerging information about monkeypox so that we can best implement health and safety measures that protect our community, when necessary. The College will continue to monitor local conditions and maintain communication with local and state health officials, and we are ready to support the medical needs of students on campus. 

More on the illness can be found on the CDC’s monkeypox webpage.   

Students with concerns about symptoms, exposure or are seeking evaluation should contact SHAW at (641) 269-3230. 

Frequently Asked Questions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox was discovered in 1958. It is a rare orthopoxvirus, the same family as the variola virus which causes smallpox, but with milder symptoms and is rarely fatal.   

Monkeypox symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus. Most people with monkeypox will get a rash. 

  • The rash will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing. 
  • The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy. 

Other symptoms of monkeypox can include: 

  • Fever 
  • Chills 
  • Swollen lymph nodes 
  • Exhaustion 
  • Muscle aches and backache 
  • Headache 
  • Respiratory symptoms (e.g. sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough) 

You may experience all or only a few symptoms. Symptoms can vary: 

  • Sometimes, people have flu-like symptoms before the rash. 
  • Some people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. 
  • Others only experience a rash. 

Additional information about monkeypox symptoms can be found on the CDC website.  

Monkeypox can spread to anyone through close, personal, frequent skin-to-skin contact, including: 

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox. 
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox. The likelihood of contracting monkeypox from surface contact is low. 
  • Contact with respiratory secretions. Respiratory droplet exposure would need to be prolonged (ex: kissing or talking very closely for a long period of time). 

More about how monkeypox is transmitted can be found on the CDC website.  

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox. 
  • Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom. 

Learn more about preventing monkeypox. 

Students who have symptoms of monkeypox should contact SHAW. SHAW will help students seek appropriate testing and medical treatment. Students can also contact a local provider for an appointment, go to Quick Visit or Grinnell Regional Medical Center Urgent Care

Employees should talk to their healthcare provider. Anyone with symptoms should avoid direct contact with others until they can be diagnosed.  

Individuals with confirmed cases should avoid contact with others until all of their skin lesions have completely healed with the formation of a fresh new layer of intact skin. 

Currently there are two licensed vaccines in the United States to prevent smallpox which are being used against monkeypox, although they are not readily available to the general public. At this time the CDC only recommends vaccination for high-risk individuals who have been exposed to monkeypox or are more likely to get monkeypox. 

Supportive care is the mainstay of therapy. This includes fluids, wound hygiene/care, pain management, and treatment of any secondary infections. Skin lesions should be kept clean and dry. Analgesics should be taken as needed for pain. Oral antihistamines and topical agents such as calamine lotion, over the counter hydrocortisone, and petroleum jelly can help alleviate itching. More severe infections are managed in collaboration with local health departments and may involve trials of medications held in reserve by the CDC. 

We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and how to opt out, please refer to our website privacy policy.