How Michigan universities are educating students about monkeypox

Posted at 5:39 AM, Aug 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-23 09:21:29-04

(WXYZ) — For college students, the fall semester is just days away, and for another school year, there will be concerns about large groups of people in close proximity.

It's not only COVID-19 this year, but also the growing number of cases of monkeypox.

No cases have been identified on campuses in Michigan, but they have been reported on a number of other college campuses, including Georgetown and the University of Texas.

Monkeypox is a new challenge for colleges, but lessons learned from COVID-19 could provide a path forward.

No cases have been identified on campuses here in michigan they have been reported on a number of college campuses - including Georgetown and the University of Texas.

Monkeypox is a new challenge for colleges - but lessons learned from COVID could provide a path forward.

"I would be concerned about it because I really work really close with my other grad students. And so I don't know what they're doing in their private lives," Lawrence Mendoza, a chemistry grad student at Wayne State, said.

Others aren't worried too much.

"It's a very, very, very, very small number of people who've been infected," one student said.

While that is true, Wayne State, like other Michigan universities, is launching an information campaign this week for the return to campus for the school's 25,000 students.

"Our efforts are sort of multi-pronged. But the first is always education," Laurie Lauzon Clabo, the university's chief health and wellness officer, said.

She said Wayne State will use lessons learned from COVID-19 to raise awareness about Monkeypox, like how it’s spread and the symptoms to watch for.

"We developed a coronavirus web page for the university's Website. We will do the same for monkeypox," Clabo said.

Regular updates are beginning this week and officials are tapping into campus experts in epidemiology and infectious disease.

Other schools like Eastern Michigan University have created a dedicated monkeypox website with images of what a monkeypox rash looks like and information about prevention, symptoms, testing and treatment.

Students who live on campus and contract monkeypox will isolate in a private room with meal delivery and laundry service.

The university is also working to fight the stigma of monkeypox.

"Monkeypox is not a gay disease. It is not a disease of men who have sex with men. It is a disease that is spread by close contact," Clabo said.

That contact does not have to be sexual in nature. In fact, national guidance says sports teams should also be a focus of educational campaigns because of the physical contact and the close social community they represent.