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SAU alum offers tips to battle the spread of monkeypox

COVID-19 drastically changed the world and its response to serious diseases. However, the rising monkeypox virus is making its way around the globe.

As early as July 2021, Monkeypox has risen to a national crisis and healthcare workers are once again frustrated with a lack of resources.

“It does seem like we may not have learned all the lessons we should have from COVID,” Nick Colwell, a 2009 St. Ambrose nursing graduate, said. “Testing capacity for monkeypox was a major weakness earlier this summer, allowing the virus to spread undetected.”

The first case of monkeypox detected in the United States was in 2003, after a shipment of mammals carrying the virus entered the country. Currently there have been at least two confirmed cases by the CDC, one in Texas and in Maryland. Each case occurring five months apart from each other after the patients returned from Nigeria.

“Human monkeypox infections primarily occur in central and western African countries. . . Although all strains can cause infection, those circulating in western Africa, where Nigeria is located, generally cause less severe disease,” Maryland’s Department of Public Health said.

Considering how rapidly the threat had been discovered in November 2021, the CDC and United States government declared monkeypox a national health emergency. Here in Iowa there’s been 18 reported cases, across the river in Illinois, there have been at least 1058 cases reported. With at least three cases confirmed in eastern Iowa, St. Ambrose University has begun discussions on a potential response to infections on campus.

“We have developed a response plan for the university in the event of a case of Monkeypox,” Nurse Nancy Hines said. “We are prepared and will respond accordingly.”

While infections among young adults are uncommon, communal living spaces like dormitories are more likely to see potential infections. If someone is suspected of having monkeypox they will need to contact the Scott County Health Department for testing and vaccination. Here are other preventative measures the CDC recommends to prevent the spread of infection.

  1. Washing your hands after being out.
  2. Keeping living spaces clean and disinfecting common areas.
  3. Avoiding prolonged contact with friends and family who show symptoms.