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Universities keeping close eye on monkeypox as students return


As monkeypox cases continue to rise in Canada, local post-secondary institutions are raising awareness in the hopes to keep students healthy.

Keeping students informed and protected from monkeypox is in addition to the post-secondary institutions continuing to follow COVID-19 precautions.

“We will be ramping up our social media education initiatives to help educate and inform students as they arrive on campus,” said Alison Burnett, U of G's director of student wellness services.

The university started a monkeypox info page with information on how it spreads, symptoms, prevention tips and what to do if exposed to the virus.

Burnett said the U of G is taking a ‘general approach’ to health and well-being to cover its bases, saying the university can pull from what it learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Washing hands and surfaces and wearing masks and going to be tested for symptoms and things like that,” she said. “Encouraging students to check their vaccination status with their healthcare providers.”

Monkeypox is considered a viral infection that often presents flu-like symptoms, along with a rash.

“You might be able to get it through some secretions, for example, if you’re sharing utensils [or] if you’re sharing cigarettes,” said infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Waterloo, Zahid Butt. “You get a fever, you get body aches, you get a headache. One of the key features is you get stiffness in the neck.”

The University of Guelph, Wilfrid Laurier and the University of Waterloo said public health units will be taking the lead in monkeypox cases when it comes to assessment, contact tracing and potential exposures. All three institutions are asking students who think they may have symptoms to contact public health.

“Wilfrid Laurier University will be providing community members with information on monkeypox through our Student Wellness Centre webpages for both Waterloo and Brantford campuses. This information will also be shared on other web pages targeted at students. We will also be sharing information on social media,” said Deirdre Healey, communications manager at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“Our teams in Campus Wellness will be doing disease prevention messaging this fall for all “close-contact” diseases (e.g. wash your hands, cover your cough, stay home if sick etc..) and our teams do good work in promoting sex-positivity (although they are not related to monkeypox),” said Nick Manning at the University of Waterloo in an email. Top Stories

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