What is the flu?
The flu is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses. The virus usually enters the body through mucus membranes in the mouth, nose, or eyes. When a person with the flu coughs or sneezes, the virus then becomes airborne and can be inhaled by anyone nearby. You can also get the flu if you’ve touched a contaminated surface like a telephone or a doorknob and then touch your nose or mouth.
Is it a cold or the flu?
|Signs & Symptoms||Influenza||Cold|
|Fever||Usual; lasts 3-4 days||Rare|
|Aches||Usual; often severe||Slight|
|Chest discomfort, cough||Common; can be severe||Mild to moderate; hacking cough|
Mpox is a disease caused by a pox-virus usually not commonly seen in the United States, however, mpox cases have recently been increasing in the United States. Cases in New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area are rapidly on the rise. College students, sexually active adults, those living in congregate settings and those participating in social networks make these populations of concern.
Fairleigh Dickinson University is actively monitoring the situation and working with our public health partners to make necessary preparations in the event of cases and/or an outbreak. Many of the protocols we put into place for COVID-19, such as cleaning, disinfecting, contact tracing, isolation and quarantine, are applicable to curtailing community transmission of the mpox virus.
It is important that every member of our community understands how the virus is spread, manifested and what to do if exposed or symptomatic.
Mpox does not spread through casual contact; it has primarily been spread by intimate, skin-to-skin contact.
Mpox can spread to ANYONE. Although the current situation in the U.S. has initially involved populations of gay and bisexual men, mpox is not a “gay” disease and can affect anyone of any sexual orientation.
Here is how it can be spread:
- Direct contact with mpox rash, sores or scabs from a person with mpox.
- Contact with objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with mpox.
- Contact with respiratory secretions, through kissing and other face-to-face contact.
Signs and Symptoms
People with mpox often have a rash located on or near genitals and possibly other areas like the hands, feet, chest, face or mouth.
The rash will go through several stages starting as pimples or blisters, which can be painful or itchy, followed by scabbing before healing. Some people have just a few lesions while others have lesions more widely distributed.
Some people, but not all, experience flu-like symptoms 1-4 days before the rash appears. Those symptoms may include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or cough.
Course of Illness
Mpox symptoms typically start within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus. Mpox can be spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed, all scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness usually lasts 2-4 weeks. Medical clearance, given by Student Health Services or a physician, is needed to return to school or work and must meet clearance criteria set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What To Do If Exposed
- Notify Student Health Services ASAP.
- Monitor for symptoms for 21 days.
- Bergen or Morris County Health Department (depending on your campus) or the county health department in which the person resides, will be notified and facilitate access to any vaccine supply. Vaccine supply at the present time is limited but expected to increase in the upcoming months.
- The JYNNEOS vaccine is a two-dose vaccine given 4 weeks apart. It is most effective in preventing mpox when given 1-4 days post exposure, but approved to be given up to 14 days post exposure to reduce the severity of outbreak.
What To Do If Symptomatic
Persons displaying symptoms of monkeypox should first self-isolate:
- Call Student Health Services immediately. If seeking assistance from outside medical resources, Student Health Services must still be notified. Viral testing is not available on campus, but Student Health Services can direct you to the nearest testing location
- If confirmed positive, you will be asked to isolate on campus in an isolation room or return home. Do not go to class/work/social events.
- Bergen or Morris County Health Department (depending on your campus) or the county health department in which the person resides, will be notified to facilitate securing an anti-viral medication. The medication Tecovirimat (TPOXX) is being offered as part of clinical trial and requires monitoring and lab work.
- Anticipate duration of illness and isolation to last 2- 4 weeks.