LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The CDC has reported nearly 17,000 cases of monkeypox in the U.S., with New York, California, Florida, and Texas seeing some of the highest rates in the country.
Universities across the U.S. have been waiting for students to start the new school semester, a much-anticipated return amid COVID-19, and now the possibility of the new threat of monkeypox.
While the virus isn’t a cause of alarm at UNLV, staff members said they’re prepared if a student becomes infected with monkeypox or any other contagious disease or illness.
While students are excited to get back to classes on campus on Monday, some said they are worried about monkeypox.
“With monkeypox, it’s a different story because it’s more visible, so I feel like it’s more scarier because if you see just a random dot on someone everyone assumes that you just have something,” said UNLV student Kim Ramirez.
“We don’t know who’s been in the class and where the other people have been, and they’re touching everything,” added student Jocelyn Villa.
Brain Labus is an epidemiologist at UNLV and told 8 News Now that while a classroom setting doesn’t pose a higher risk for monkeypox transmission, there is a concern for those living in the dorms.
“If you’re living in close contact with others, we have to put special steps in place,” he said. “So we have isolation rooms available, we have the ability to bring people food and make sure they get the medical care that they need and protect them and people around them from the disease.”
If you’re concerned about the spread of monkeypox, Dr. Labus said to follow the general recommendations to protect yourself, including washing your hands and protecting yourself in intimate settings.
“We have a plan to deal with disease in general, we have that all the time on a college campus because people get all sorts of infections,” he added.
There is a limited supply of the monkeypox vaccine available at the health district, and Dr. Labus said it’s possible UNLV could provide shots once the vaccine is widely distributed.