Co-Deans Address Concerns About the Monkeypox Virus

Faculty; Social Work; Students

Dear Brown School Community, 

We are reaching out to our community to address concerns about the monkeypox virus since the Center for Disease Control declared this virus a public health emergency on August 4, 2022. Monkeypox is a disease caused by a rare virus. Although we have seen an increase in the number of cases in the U.S., the overall risk is still low. We are monitoring the situation and are working to stop the further spread of monkeypox. As of August 5, 2022, there are 13 confirmed cases in Missouri and 571 cases in Illinois. Please see the FAQs below for more information.

Monkeypox symptoms include a rash, which may look like pimples, blisters, or sores, often with an earlier flu-like illness. If we all know the facts and work together, we can help to stop the spread of monkeypox. Please follow these tips:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
    Stay home and contact your healthcare provider if you:
  • feel sick
  • have a fever, chills, or swollen lymph nodes,
  • have a new or unexplained rash, which may look like pimples, blisters, or sores

As professionals in the social work, public health and social policy spheres, we believe that it is important to share information that reduces stigma. Monkeypox is a legitimate public health issue that is relevant to all people. Although, transmission can occur from sexual contact, anyone can get monkeypox. It can come be transmitted through: (1) direct contact with an infectious rash, scabs or body fluids; (2) through kissing, cuddling or sex; (3) by touching objects such as fabric that someone with monkeypox has used; or (4) being scratched or bitten by an infected animal. Monkeypox can be acquired by all people, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.

Given that we have all endured a pandemic for almost three years, it may be overwhelming to hear about another public health emergency. It is understandable to struggle with concerns about another virus given all of the upheaval people have faced over the last few years. If you are struggling with mental health issues related to these concerns, please utilize the following resources:

The risk to most people remains low, but knowledge empowers us all and keeps us healthy!

Best, Rodrigo & Tonya

Rodrigo S. Reis, Ph.D. (he/him), Interim Co-Dean, Professor, Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis

Tonya E. Edmond, Ph.D. (she/her), Interim Co-Dean, Professor, Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis

Monkeypox FAQ


Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus, which is caused by the variola virus (the same virus that causes smallpox). The disease is rarely fatal, but has seen a recent increase in its spread over the last few months. On August 4, 2022, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) declared monkeypox a public health emergency. Currently, there is no treatment available for monkeypox. In the St. Louis region, the number of cases has been very small at this point. You can find more information in the St. Louis Health Department webpage.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Monkeypox is closely related to smallpox, so some symptoms appear similar.

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters. It can appear on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals or anus.

Is monkeypox related to chickenpox?

No, they are not related and are caused by different viruses.

How is monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox is commonly spread through:

  • Rubbing or touching infectious scabs, rash, or body fluid.
  • Face-to-face contact, or other intimate contact such as kissing, cuddling, and sex.
  • Touching items (such as linens and clothing) that previously touched infectious rash or fluids.

How do I get tested for monkeypox?

If I have another question, who should I ask?

  • For Field Education, your field advisor or Jewel Stafford at
  • For student worker hours, contact your current supervisor.