UH System Universities are Monitoring Monkeypox
08/05/2022, 10:00:02 AM
University of Houston System

Dear UHS Faculty, Staff and Students,

The University of Houston System is closely following the global monkeypox outbreak. Locally, the Houston Health Department, Harris County Public Health and Victoria County Public Health Department are monitoring cases in our respective counties. As of Thursday, Aug. 4, 527 cases have been reported in Texas.  According to the CDC, the general threat of monkeypox to the public is considered LOW at this time.

Response Planning
Your university is preparing response plans and university-specific guidance, should there be any cases on campus. Just as we have seen with other communicable diseases, infection rates on campus are likely to mirror cases in the community.

About Monkeypox
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection spread mainly through close, rather than casual, contact. It can cause a rash that looks like bumps, blisters or ulcers. Some people have flu-like illness before the rash develops. If you believe you have been exposed, you should avoid close contact with others and watch closely for any symptoms.  If symptoms or a rash develops, get tested and self-isolate pending test results to avoid spreading the infection to others. Additional details about signs, symptoms and risk factors are available at the CDC.

Take the following steps to prevent getting monkeypox:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash.
  • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.
  • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Combat Stigma and Misinformation
Misinformation is already prevalent regarding monkeypox. It is not a sexually transmitted disease nor is it isolated to certain communities. As an inclusive and caring university system, we have a shared responsibility to refrain from using stigmatizing words or actions related to monkeypox virus. It is paramount that we share factual information so that people can make the best decisions for their health and the health of our community.

Learn More
I urge you to learn more about the virus, its transmission, treatment and what to do if you suspect you have been exposed, develop symptoms or are diagnosed with monkeypox by visiting the CDC’s website.

Thank you for your continuing resilience and taking care to keep yourself and those around you safe.


Stephen J. Spann, M.D., M.B.A.
Founding Dean, College of Medicine
Vice-President for Medical Affairs
University of Houston

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