MPOX (Monkeypox) FAQ for employees and students
How prevalent is MPOX in the area?
- Case counts for Yolo County are available on its MPOX page. For statewide case counts per county, please visit the California Department of Public Health website.
What is the Yolo County Public Health Officer recommending to help mitigate infection rates?
- If you have been diagnosed with MPOX, maintain isolation as directed by public health.
- The CDC recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and people who may be more likely to get monkeypox.
- As with any communicable disease, frequent hand washing is recommended.
What is UC Davis doing to mitigate the spread of MPOX among students?
- UC Davis is providing education and awareness to our entire community around how MPOX is spread (primarily through intimate skin-to-skin contact), what to look for with symptoms, and how to best protect yourself and others. Informational links are listed below:
- UC Davis Health - What to do if you think you have monkeypox
- Student Health and Counseling Services:
- Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) MPOX Health Topic
- MPOX Webinar (hosted by the LGBTQIA Resource Center for LGBTQIA+ students). Panelists: Blake Flaugher (HEP Sexual Well-Being Health Promotion Specialist), Dr. Cindy Schorzman (SHCS Medical Director) and Tristan Morton (Director of the UC Davis LGBTQIA Resource Center)
- Yolo County MPOX resources
- California Department of Public Health MPOX resources
- CDC MPOX resources
- The newly created public health unit within SHCS will help to lead the campus’s ongoing efforts for MPOX — including coordination with Yolo County health officials, wastewater surveillance, public education and protocols for isolation care.
- To provide peer-to-peer outreach and education about MPOX, Health Education and Promotion’s Student Coordinators will be creating social media content and other resources, as well as integrating MPOX information into their existing programing. The Aggie Public Health Ambassadors will be trained to assist in public education about MPOX and will be engaging with students throughout the year.
What should each student/staff/faculty member be doing to prevent the spread?
- Report MPOX symptoms to your primary care provider. Maintain isolation requirements if you have been diagnosed with MPOX.
Is testing available at UC Davis?
- Diagnostic testing is available through your medical provider. Students should schedule a telehealth appointment via Health-e-Messaging with their SHCS provider for any questions or concerns about MPOX. Staff and faculty should consult their medical provider for the same.
Is a vaccine available at UC Davis?
- Vaccine is currently in short supply and being distributed based on county case counts through the California Department of Public Health. More information on vaccine availability in Yolo County can be found on its MPOX page. Vaccine clinic locations in Sacramento County can be found on its MPOX page.
Would reinstituting a mask mandate and/or additional classroom cleaning protocols assist in reducing the spread?
- CDPH and CDC guidelines do not recommend masking for general populations. Masking may be indicated for persons needing to isolate because of an active infection. Primary modes and risk of transmission can be found here.
Should we have a physical distancing requirement for MPOX like we did for COVID?
- Data indicate that MPOX is mainly being spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact; it is not spread by brief, casual contact, according to the CDC. CDPH and CDC guidelines do not call for a general physical distancing requirement. Close contacts – as identified through formal contact tracing performed by the county health department – may continue to remain at work so long as symptoms do not develop.
Why does the overall campus response to MPOX differ from COVID-19?
- Although the sudden emergence of MPOX can be alarming after over two years of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, MPOX is not a new virus and does not spread in the same way as COVID-19. With significant differences in infection rates, ways of transmission and prevention, the public health guidance and recommendations for MPOX are distinct from COVID-19.
- The newly created public health unit within SHCS will help to lead the campus’s ongoing efforts for MPOX — including coordination with Yolo County health officials, wastewater surveillance, public education and protocols for isolation care. (this is from above)
What is campus doing to support students who are diagnosed with MPOX?
- Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) is available as a resource to students for questions regarding MPOX and/or medical care. Mental health support is also available via Counseling Services.
- If instructional accommodations are needed due to illness, students can work with their instructors on a case-by-case basis. The Academic Senate’s Resources for Instructional Accommodations provides guidance. Students who need to isolate longer term due to MPOX diagnosis may wish to consult with the Student Disability Center for accommodation options.
- Case managers at the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA) are available to provide holistic support to students who are experiencing distress and/or barriers to their academic and student life success.
How is campus supporting queer and trans students at this time to prevent stigma and discrimination?
- The LGBTQIA Resource Center hosted a webinar on MPOX for LGBTQIA+ students with Student Health and Counseling Services to provide health information and highlight resources available to students.
- Health Education and Promotion developed a training for Community Advisors about MPOX and supporting residents, which focuses on reducing stigma and discrimination. They have also developed several social media messages about MPOX stigma.
- Guidance from the American College Health Association on Promoting Health Equity and Reducing Stigma has been distributed throughout Student Affairs and Student Housing and Dining Services.
Can professors teach remotely if they get MPOX?
- Employees ordered by a public health official to isolate because of a MPOX diagnosis should consult with Employee Disability Management for accommodation consideration.
Will campus be providing isolation housing for students who are diagnosed with MPOX?
- Campus has limited isolation housing available and is only able to offer spaces to students living in on-campus congregate housing (i.e. residence halls) with Student Housing and Dining Services contracts.
Are we monitoring wastewater for MPOX?
- Both the City of Davis and UC Davis are participating in the Sewer Coronavirus Alert Network, or SCAN, wastewater surveillance project, which has been monitoring for MPOX daily since mid-June. The project’s website provides data by location, including Davis and UC Davis. The city is also part of the Healthy Valley Together project, which monitors wastewater and is currently developing a MPOX assay.