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U of A taking measures to prevent monkeypox on campus

With classes at the University of Arkansas starting Monday, there are new efforts at the Pat Walker Student Health Services.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — With thousands of students returning to campus this fall, it could cause the virus to spread but the student health center is working to prevent that.

The fall semester starts on Aug. 22 and the Pat walker health center released information to students on how they can prevent the spread of monkeypox.

“If they’re needing to come in to get tested for monkeypox, we do have the availability to collect a sample from a lesion, if they have lesions and we can process that through our system called quest and we can get the test results back in about two to three days,” said Breeanne Carter- Assistant director of marketing & communications for Pat Walker health center

For students living in communal spaces like dorms or greek housing, the student health center advises students to protect themselves not only from monkeypox but covid as well.

“You know we are encouraging students to get those home tests so that they can test if they need to,” Carter said.

According to the Arkansas Department of health -- three of the state’s 20 cases are in Washington county. The U of A expects more than 30 thousand students this semester – including 7,000 freshmen. If a monkeypox case does pop up, it’ll have to make adjustments.

“Because of our large incoming class, we actually don’t have any spacing available on campus so that is something where we would work out with housing or whatever or with our students to see who could actually go back home and isolate or if its possible for them to isolate where they were,” Carter explained.

This is the first year a student-run organization called “hogs for health” is spreading awareness about the health of students. its plans for this school year include educating peers on viruses like covid and monkeypox.

“We should begin to prepare for monkeypox if it does arrive to our campus by having students be educated about it and by having the antivirals and the testing available for students and for them to know that’s there for them if they do notice the symptoms,” said Caroline Bartels- Student Liaison for Hogs for Health

The state of Arkansas has been allocated a certain number of doses of the vaccine. it prevents smallpox and monkeypox. while the supply is still limited, more doses are on the way

“As far as vaccinations pre and post. And antivirals those people that qualify for that we be referred to the Arkansas department of health,” said Carter.

If students are worried, they may have been exposed… the health center says to come in and get tested. Washington county health unit also offers testing in our area.

RELATED: ADH tracking flu, COVID and monkeypox cases as school year begins

RELATED: List: Arkansas & Oklahoma 2022 back-to-school dates

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