Elon's Infectious Disease Response Team shared the following message on Monday, Aug. 15, about how the university is monitoring the spread of monkeypox and preparing for the possibility of a confirmed case on campus.
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
While COVID-19 continues to be the most pressing community health concern we are addressing as we move into the fall semester, we are monitoring the emergence of the monkeypox virus as a growing concern. Officials with the World Health Organization and the United States federal government have activated alert levels that enable coordinated international and national response to the outbreak.
While the monkeypox virus is a serious public health threat, we encourage members of the university community to remain calm, learn about the virus, and follow the guidance of public health officials at the federal, state, and local levels. The Elon University Infectious Disease Response Team has been monitoring the situation and is working with health officials to develop operational plans and protocols for the university, should they become necessary.
A university website has been created to educate the Elon community about the monkeypox virus, including transmission, symptoms, treatment, and steps each of us can take to avoid contracting the virus. The site includes information about the current status of monkeypox in North Carolina and the United States, and we note that the current threat to the general population is low.
The emergence of the current monkeypox outbreak, so closely on the heels of the novel COVID-19 virus, may heighten anxiety for many. Key differences make monkeypox a less serious threat than COVID-19. Among the key distinctions:
- Monkeypox is spread primarily through skin-to-skin contact and is less contagious than COVID-19.
- Outbreaks of monkeypox are easier to contain than COVID-19 since spreading the infection requires close contact with infectious particles, not casual contact, and people with monkeypox are generally not contagious until after symptoms appear.
- Existing vaccines are already available, have already been previously tested, and provide some protection against monkeypox.
- Monkeypox is typically a mild and self-limiting condition; it is rarely fatal.
Please visit the university website and educate yourself about monkeypox. As a university, we have learned a great deal about managing community health concerns through our recent experiences with the mumps and COVID-19. These lessons will serve us well, should monkeypox affect the university community.
As we have with previous infectious disease concerns, we will remain adaptive and responsive as conditions evolve. Elon’s Infectious Disease Response Team is meeting regularly, working closely with local and state health officials, and leading efforts to support the university community. Information and updates will continue to be available throughout the semester.
Members of the Elon University Infectious Disease Response Team
- Ginette Archinal, co-chair – University Physician/Medical Director
- Jana Lynn Patterson, co-chair – Associate Vice President of Student Life and Dean of Students
- Steve Bailey, liaison to Academic Council – Professor of Physical Therapy Education
- Owen Covington – Assistant Vice President for News and Information
- Doug Dotson – Assistant Chief of Campus Safety and Police
- Stacie Dooley – Assistant Dean of Career & Student Development, Elon Law
- Val Drummond – Director of Risk Management
- Raymond Fletcher – Assistant Director of Facilities Management
- Whitney Gregory – Assistant Dean of Students
- Kathy Harrison – Faculty/Staff Health & Wellness Clinic Manager
- Aneshia Jerralds – Associate Director of Residence Life for Operations and Facilities
- Paul Miller – Associate Provost for Academic Excellence and Operations
- Shannon Moylan – Director of Environmental Services
- Stephanie Page, liaison to Staff Advisory Council – Director of Human Resources Operations
- Madelyn Pastrana – Community Health Manager
- Carrie Ryan – Assistant Vice President for Auxiliary Services
- Jeffrey Scheible – Associate Athletics Director for Compliance and Administration
- Stephanie Vaughn – Student Health Services Practice Manager