Monkeypox in Montgomery County: How you can protect yourself and others

Photo of the Dayton skyline courtesy of Wikimedia

Sarah Hensley | Contributing Writer

On August 8,  Montgomery County confirmed its first Monkeypox case.

With University of Dayton students returning to campus, news of this confirmed case may leave some to question how Monkeypox could affect their semester. Health professionals continue to release information on how people can protect themselves from getting sick— especially those living in close proximity with roommates.

Student Health Medical Director, Dr. Melinda Ruff, recommends avoiding close skin to skin contact with people who have Monkeypox. Students should avoid direct contact with the rash, sores, scabs, bodily fluids and personal items of the infected person. Washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using an alcohol-based sanitizer can decrease the risk of spreading many infections.

Unlike COVID-19, Monkeypox is less likely to transmit through respiratory droplets. This allows in-person learning to continue throughout the semester. 

“One of the things we want people to understand is the difference between COVID-19 and Monkeypox,” said Dan Suffoletto, public information manager of Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County. “COVID-19 is spread through droplets in the air and is much more deadly than Monkeypox.”

With concern of an outbreak comes spread of misinformation. It is important for students to know that Monkeypox is not spread exclusively through one demographic or sexual orientation. While Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, it can be transmitted through sexual encounters.

“This virus is spread through close, personal, often skin to skin contact with someone that has Monkeypox, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity,” Ruff said.

Practicing safe sex helps reduce the risk of spreading Monkeypox. If your sexual partner has an unexplained rash, they should seek medical attention before engaging in sexual activity.

“One of the things the students need to be careful of is sexual health,” Suffoletto said. “When you are having sex with someone make sure you are both healthy and do what you can to mitigate the risk.”

If you have Monkeypox symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. The Student Health Center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays and appointments can be made online.

For more information on Monkeypox, visit the CDC website

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