Student Health Messages

Expand All
  • Aug. 11, 2022: Health Information: Monkeypox

    Dear Students, 

    We are writing today with some important health and safety information as we look forward to welcoming you to campus for the start of the fall semester soon.

    The University and Student Health Center are monitoring a multi-country outbreak of monkeypox, first identified in May 2022. We are working with and following guidance from local and national health experts.

    Please refer to the following resources for the most up-to-date information about monkeypox:

    Monkeypox is a rare contagious rash illness caused by the monkeypox virus. The virus is in the same family of viruses as the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox causes milder illness than smallpox, but some symptoms can be severe.

    Monkeypox symptoms include flu-like symptoms that begin a few days before the rash appears. Initial symptoms can include fever/chills, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and swollen lymph nodes. The virus can cause blisters or open lesions on the skin.

    Additional information about monkeypox can be found in the FAQ below. 

    If you have questions about monkeypox, symptoms consistent with monkeypox, or have been in close contact with someone with monkeypox, please call us at 804-289-8064 to consult with a medical provider or to schedule an appointment. Please note the definition of “close contact” for monkeypox is different than for COVID-19. Please consult the FAQs below for additional information.

    Thank you and be well.


    Latrina Lemon, M.D.
    Medical Director, Student Health Center

Monkeypox FAQs

This content was compiled using information from the CDC, VDH, and University of Richmond Student Health Center. Rev. August 2022.

Expand All
  • What is monkeypox?

    Monkeypox is a rare contagious rash illness caused by the monkeypox virus. The virus is in the same family of viruses as the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox causes milder illness than smallpox, but some symptoms can be severe. The monkeypox virus can spread from animals to people and from person to person. 

    In 2022, a monkeypox outbreak began. There are cases in many countries or areas where this infection is not usually found, including in the U.S. and in Virginia. 

  • Am I at risk for monkeypox?

    The risk to the general public is considered low at this time. 

    Anyone can get and spread monkeypox; however, it is spread by close contact with an infected person. Close contact includes touching skin lesions, bodily fluids, or clothing or linens that have been in contact with an infected person. Spread can also occur during prolonged, face-to-face contact.

    Monkeypox can spread from person to person through: 

    • Sexual or intimate contact (including oral, anal, and vaginal sex)
    • Hugging, kissing, cuddling, and massage
    • Sharing a bed, sharing a towel, or sharing clothes that have not been washed 

    The highest risk activity at present is sex with multiple or anonymous partners. Avoiding these activities greatly reduces your risk of catching or spreading monkeypox.

    Monkeypox does not spread from person to person through: 

    • Walking by someone who is infected 
    • Casual conversation with someone infected  

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information about prevention for people who are sexually active, who are at higher risk of exposure.

  • What are monkeypox preventative measures?

    Only people with monkeypox symptoms can spread the virus to others.

    • Avoid close face-to-face and skin-to-skin contact (including sexual contact) with someone who has a monkeypox-related rash or other symptoms.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom.
    • Wear a mask if you think you have monkeypox or have close contact with someone who may be infected.
    • Consider the events you attend and your behavior at those events; if there is close, prolonged skin-to-skin contact, the risk of spreading monkeypox is higher.
  • Do I have symptoms of Monkeypox?

    Monkeypox symptoms usually start 6-13 days after exposure. For many people, the illness starts with flu-like symptoms that begin a few days before the rash appears. Initial symptoms can include:

    • Fever/chills
    • Headache
    • Muscle aches
    • Tiredness
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Rash

    For some people, a rash may be their only symptom. The rash can look like pimples or blisters. It often begins on the genitals or perianal area, or in and around the mouth. In these situations, the monkeypox rash could be confused with a more common sexually transmitted infection (STI). The rash might develop on just one part of the body or can appear on many parts of the body. These lesions might be painful.

    Rash lesions go through different stages before healing. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. People with certain conditions may be more likely to develop severe illness. These include people with weakened immune systems, children under 8 years of age, people with a history of eczema, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • What do I do if I have symptoms of monkeypox?

    If you have symptoms, isolate yourself. You should separate yourself from other people and pets, cover your lesions, and contact a healthcare provider. If you are a University of Richmond undergraduate or law student, please contact the Student Health Center at 804-289-8064. Please call ahead before going to a healthcare facility and let them know that you are concerned about monkeypox.

    If you cannot completely separate yourself from others, you should wear a well-fitting face mask and cover areas where rash or sores are present.


    If you have symptoms of monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider immediately for testing, especially if it is possible you were in a setting or situation within the last month where monkeypox is known to spread.

    Treatment Options

    There are no specific treatments for monkeypox virus infections. Certain antivirals, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX), may be recommended for people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems. Where available, vaccination can reduce the chance and severity of infection in those who have been exposed.

    If you have symptoms of monkeypox, you should talk to your healthcare provider, even if you don’t think you have had contact with someone who has monkeypox. 

    Testing and treatment are guided by local health departments in conjunction with CDC, VDH, and DCLS.