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On July 23, 2022, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. On August 4, 2022, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the ongoing spread of the monkeypox virus in the United States a Public Health Emergency (PHE).
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is not related to chickenpox. Despite the name “monkeypox”, the origin of the virus is unknown. The current 2022 outbreak did not originate from monkeys and is spread primarily between people through close contact such as direct physical contact with infected skin and intimate contact.
The spread of monkeypox is through direct skin-to-skin contact and through respiratory secretions such as saliva, cough, and sneezes for a prolonged amount of time. The risk of contracting monkeypox is low for those in casual settings such as sharing a room/space.
Symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, muscle aches/backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, congestion, cough, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters.
If you have been exposed or develop symptoms consistent with monkeypox, please contact Student Health Services (SHS), if a student, or your primary care provider, if a faculty or staff member, and contact Gallaudet’s Public Health team at Contact Tracing if you have any questions or concerns.
If your roommate has informed you of their known or suspected infection, please reach out to the Contact Tracing Team for guidance and assistance with symptom monitoring, vaccination, and cleaning.
Gallaudet University conducts campus contact tracing for monkeypox. Extensive contact tracing (the process of determining who you came in contact with, when, where, and the extent and nature of that close contact) is carried out by the DC Department of Health. Gallaudet Contact Tracers may inquire about places you have visited on campus (e.g gym, library, classes) and Gallaudet/Clerc Center affiliated individuals you have been in direct contact with during your infectious period, but will generally not inquire about any other activities.
If you are diagnosed with monkeypox you will have to go into isolation, which can last for approximately three to four weeks. Gallaudet’s Public Health team will provide guidance and support with symptom monitoring, when to end isolation, and other issues related to isolation.
If you are diagnosed with monkeypox outside of Gallaudet, we request that you let the Public Health team know by
reaching out to us
An infection caused by the monkeypox virus should be confirmed via a PCR test. A clinician will swab your lesion(s) and send it to a lab for processing. Results can take between 3-7 days to be reported.
If you are a student, you can get tested at Student Health Services.
If you are a faculty or staff member, please inquire about testing with your primary care physician. Not all clinics are equipped and able to offer monkeypox testing at this time.
You will have to go into isolation until you get the results.
At this time, the following individuals are eligible to receive the vaccine from the DC Department of Health: District residents, individuals who work in the District, students enrolled at District universities/colleges, and persons affiliated with DC Health Programs that receive health care services in DC, and 18 years of age or older, who meet one of the following criteria:
To learn more about eligibility requirements and to find locations for a vaccine appointment, please visit the DC Department of Health website.
The DC government currently offers the JYNNEOS vaccine, which is given, generally, in two doses 28 days apart. New dosing schedules are currently being launched based on new evidence.
At this time, only the DC government is able to administer the monkeypox vaccine. The vaccine is not currently available for administration by individual clinics or universities.
If you think you have symptoms suggestive of monkeypox please isolate yourself immediately. Wear a KN95 or N95 mask and cover your rash with clothing or other materials (e.g bandages) if you must come in contact with anyone.
If any of these symptoms are present, and you are a student, reach out to the Student Health Services right away.
If you are a faculty or staff or member, please reach out to your primary care physician.
You may reach out to the Public Health and Safety team for advice by contacting us.
It is unlikely that you will get monkeypox at the pool. The chlorine in the pool kills the monkeypox virus. However transmission can happen through items such as towels, kickboards, pool toys, or clothing, however, this is at a much lower risk than having close, prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual.
It is unlikely that you will get monkeypox at the gym. Though the virus that causes monkeypox can stick to surfaces, the main mode of transmission is skin-to-skin. Touching items confers a much lower risk than having close, prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infected individual.
Monkeypox spreads in several different ways. According to the CDC, it can also spread by touching items, such as clothing, linens, or towels, that previously were in contact with the infectious rash or body fluids. Individuals can also get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by an infected animal.
Monkeypox does not discriminate and anyone can get it including women and children. Harassment and/or stigmatization related to a suspected or known case of monkeypox are unacceptable.
Please be mindful that there are chronic skin and genetic conditions (such as acne) that may resemble monkeypox lesions. Please do not assume that a person with a rash is infected with monkeypox.
Scientists are still researching questions such as, can monkeypox be spread through asymptomatic individuals and how likely transmission is through respiratory secretions.
Symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, low energy, respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, congestion, cough, and a rash that can look like pimples or blisters. You can experience all or some symptoms. Some individuals may experience respiratory symptoms, then a rash. Others may experience a rash first then other symptoms and some only experience a rash.
Rashes can appear anywhere on the body such as the face, arms, chest, and legs. Rashes and lesions can also appear near the genitals (penis, testicles, vulva, or anus). Lesions can be flat or slightly raised, filled with pus which will scab up and then fall off.
Monkeypox can be transmitted in several ways. The main transmission route is through close physical contact with someone who has symptoms. Direct contact with a rash, bodily fluid, pus, and blood can transmit the virus. Monkeypox can also be transmitted through prolonged exposure to respiratory secretions such as kissing. Individuals who are pregnant can pass the virus to the fetus through the placenta.
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