Dear UC Riverside Community,
Recently, The World Health Organization declared Monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern. Governor Newsom has declared a state of emergency for California, in efforts to combat this outbreak. We are writing to provide an update on how our campus is responding and preparing for Monkeypox. While Monkeypox has spread throughout the United States, the current risk to the general public still remains low.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is part of a family of variola viruses which causes smallpox. Thus, symptoms are similar to smallpox, however much less severe and rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chicken pox but it is a virus that is spread, most commonly through, close intimate contact with someone who has the known virus. It is less transmissible than chicken pox, measles or even COVID-19.
How are we responding?
UC Riverside Student Health Services (SHS) is working in conjunction with our campus Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) and Riverside Public Health to continue to monitor the outbreak closely and is taking the necessary steps to ensure the health, well-being and safety of our campus community by:
• Implementing our infectious disease prevention and care plans, which includes working with our campus partners for isolation space and support services as needed.
• Advocating for our campus and working with the California Department of Public Health on getting vaccines for our students, as it relates to SHS role as their primary health care provider.
What resources are available to the Campus?
If you have had an exposure, have symptoms, or otherwise need to speak with someone about your risk, please reach out to your primary care provider.
• Faculty and staff should reach out to their primary care provider.
• Students can do this via the student portal or by calling the SHS Nurse Advice Line at (952) 827-3031 or after normal business hours at (877) 351-3457.
Vaccines are currently very limited nationally but we expect it to become increasingly available in the upcoming weeks. Currently, UCR SHS is working to receive limited doses of monkeypox vaccine and Tpoxx anti-viral medication from the State. We will be prioritizing these for students who may have been exposed to monkeypox. As supplies become more available, we also hope to offer pre-exposure vaccines to students who have been identified as high risk by our public health organizations. As soon as Riverside Public Health provides additional information regarding vaccine access to the community, we will be sure to post that information on our website.
We understand that news of a new infectious disease on top of the last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic can be concerning and result in feelings of anxiousness and uncertainty. Campus mental health resources are available to students via UC Riverside’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Faculty, staff, visiting scholars, and postdocs those who may want mental health support, can find it through UC Riverside’s Faculty and Staff Assistance Program.
Campus information will be updated at the EH&S website.
Please continue to refer to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website for continuous updates. In the meantime, let’s be diligent in looking out for the health, safety and well-being of one another through kindness and support to all members of our campus community.