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Northern Illinois University reports its first case of monkeypox

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Northern Illinois University is reporting its first case of monkeypox, just days into the new semester.

NIU president Lisa Freeman informed the campus community on Thursday that the student is isolating and receiving care. The student has not attended classes in-person and has had minimal contact with people in the community.

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Monkeypox signs and symptoms

The DeKalb County Health Department is conducting contact tracing, and people who have had close contact with the student are advised to monitor for symptoms for the next three weeks.

According to the president's message:

MPV is a viral infection that is primarily spread through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact. Symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure to the virus. Someone who has flu-like symptoms typically can expect to develop a rash one to four days later. MPV is not fatal, and most cases are resolved within two to four weeks.

Prevention measures include avoiding contact with someone who might be infected and any objects or materials they may have used, as well as frequent handwashing.

Individuals who test positive will need to isolate for approximately two to four weeks and then be cleared by their physicians before being permitted to leave their isolation settings.

Students experiencing symptoms can contact the Northwestern Medicine Student Health Center at 815-306-2777; employees should contact their personal health care providers. Individuals with symptoms, especially with an active rash, should immediately self-isolate from other people and pets. Once tested, results can take approximately 48 hours.

Individuals who test positive will need to isolate for approximately two to four weeks and then be cleared by their physicians before being permitted to leave their isolation settings.

Students must notify the university by completing its online MPV Notification form if they have tested and are awaiting results, or if they have received positive results, in order to receive academic accommodations and/or housing support.

NIU employees should isolate at home and make arrangements to work remotely if possible.

Freeman says with monkeypox cases on the rise in the nation, the university can expect to see more cases among students, faculty, and staff.  

The Centers for Disease Control says that, as of Aug. 25, 16,926 total confirmed cases of monkeypox had been reported in the U.S., including 999 in Illinois.