Should Students be Worried about Monkeypox?

Annika Norquist, In-Depth Writer

Monkeypox, the most recent public health crisis of international concern, has transpired in small outbreaks across the globe, triggering a similar uneasiness to the one experienced by many at the start of 2020. This uneasiness has brought about an important question: Should students be worried about Monkeypox? 


What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox was originally discovered in 1958, when scientists found a pox-like disease in monkeys while performing a study. Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by the monkeypox virus, which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus along with smallpox. It is important to note that Monkeypox is drastically less severe than Smallpox, as it is rarely fatal. 


What are the symptoms of Monkeypox?

The symptoms of Monkeypox include fevers, headaches, muscle aches/back aches, chills, lethargy, and a rash that can resemble acne or blisters that occur on the face, mouth, hands and other parts of the body. These symptoms can appear up to three weeks after exposure and usually remain for two to four weeks. Monkeypox is most commonly spread through behaviors that involve close contact. Recently, outbreaks have been reported in countries that do not usually have monkeypox, sparking concern among the Medical and Scientific communities around the world.   


Does Monkeypox pose a threat to Students? 

As school starts back up around the nation, it is a sensible hypothesis that the number of monkeypox cases may start to rise as well. However, the most recent report released by the CDC-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that the median age of cases reported to the CDC’s data collection and integration for public health response (DCIPHER) was 35. This report also noted that there have only been seven confirmed Pediatric cases of Monkeypox, indicating that even with more recent outbreaks, the disease is rare among children. Furthermore, Dr. Kristina Bryant, professor of infectious diseases in the department of pediatrics at the University of Louisville school of medicine, acknowledged that schools have protocols regarding rashes that help the transmission of illnesses such as monkeypox. The scarcity of pediatric cases of Monkeypox, combined with sanitation measures and health protocols that are implemented in schools, serves as a viable argument that the probable slight increase in cases as schools go back into session does not pose a severe threat to students’ health.