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Sunday, October 2, 2022

New Haven-area colleges ready for monkeypox as semester starts

NEW HAVEN — Area colleges and universities stepped up efforts to combat monkeypox by educating students and preparing resources for testing and vaccination, officials said, as residential students begin to return to campus.

Keith Grant, senior system director for infection prevention at Hartford HealthCare, said the number of cases is “beyond the endemic state,” and college campuses should be concerned because they are where transmission can happen easily through close personal contact.

“Especially, during the first few months or first few weeks of being on college campuses, there’s a lot of socialization that does happen and that continues throughout the semester itself, and much of the socialization happens in very close quarters,” Grant said.

What Grant said is important for colleges and universities to do now is to raise awareness of the disease process, not only for monkeypox, but also for COVID-19, polio and flu. Another thing is they should be in touch with health systems about testing, vaccinations and consultations regarding isolation.

As health officials has classified men having sex with men as the highest risk group, Grant said that should also be a focus when educating students.

“There’s a huge number from the epidemiology that’s within that population, so that’s something we have to be very, very focused on, especially, when we’re handling these potential outbreaks, or potential opportunity for clusters,” Grant said.

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