NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — As more is learned about monkeypox, concerns are being raised about its spread in congregate settings and in schools.
College students are about to return to campus, and doctors are urging them to keep their eyes open for symptoms.
“Monkeypox is spread by close interpersonal contact. That can be through sexual activity, but it doesn’t have to be. It can also persist on surfaces for quite some time, even weeks, according to the CDC,” explains Dr. Wilson.
Dr. Wilson explained the close quarters college students share and that a lack of proper cleaning can make them more susceptible to monkeypox.
“I think this is something that we need to keep a very close eye on when school comes back in session,” says Dr. Wilson.
According to health officials tracking monkeypox, the virus is not as contagious as COVID-19.
Vaccines will become a more common tool to fight monkeypox, as doctors figure out “who” should be vaccinated, when, and which vaccine should be used.
He explains there are two types of monkeypox vaccines. Dr. Wilson says the main one people should want is the Jynneos vaccine.
“It’s an inactivated virus vaccine. And so it can’t make you sick. You can have some side effects, but it’s in incredibly short supply,” says Wilson.
Experts are trying to determine the best dosing for the supply issue. Dr. Wilson says supplies may be low until October.
The other monkeypox vaccine option is ACAM 2000, originally a smallpox vaccine. Supply is more than adequate but there are some concerns.
“This is a live virus vaccine, which means that if you have an immune-compromised state or something, it can make you pretty sick. And even if you are totally healthy, the side effects can be quite a bit stronger. And so it’s really not the ideal vaccine to use for a broad swath of the population,” says Dr. Wilson.
As for the future of the monkeypox vaccines, Dr. Wilson says it looks like the supply of Jynneos will come late this fall. At that time he believes experts will know kind of where the pandemic is – and what groups need to be targeted for priority vaccination.
“The rate of spread is still much lower than we thought but it is still concerning because it can there’s no guarantee that it may not become an epidemic soon,” said Doctor Indu Warrier, Connecticare‘s Chief Medical Officer.