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University of Delaware announces its first case of monkeypox

Sophia Schmidt
Delaware Public Media

The University of Delaware reported its first case of monkeypox in a university employee.

In a statement to students early Thursday, the university said the individual is currently isolating and recovering at home.

Vice President for Student Life José-Luis Riera said the case isn’t related to the university, but the administration pre-determined that students would be informed as soon as the first case was identified. Now, Riera says their goal is to educate students how to be safe when they return to campus.

“The traditional college student, very developmentally normal, usually experiences invincibility around all things," Riera said. "So some of it is just convincing them that it is real. And they doon”t have to be anxious about it but they should be aware. So we’re trying to walk that line, you don’t want to create panic.”

Last week, the university launched a monkeypox website with FAQ’s and up-to-date information.

"“I think that’s probably the biggest one, is raising awareness for individuals, making sure they are aware of what symptoms of monkeypox are and how it’s transmitted," Riera said. "wAnd then obviously caring for anybody who either believes they have it or does have it, and testing.”

Riera says student health is already conducting testing for anyone in the UD community who starts experiencing symptoms, but vaccine supply is short, and Delaware isn’t seeing as many cases as other states, so Riera says the state isn’t high on the priority list for vaccine distribution from the federal government.

Students are required to mask-up for the first two weeks of school for COVID-19 prevention, but no additional guidelines have been announced for monkeypox.

Rachel Sawicki was born and raised in Camden, Delaware and attended the Caesar Rodney School District. They graduated from the University of Delaware in 2021 with a double degree in Communications and English and as a leader in the Student Television Network, WVUD and The Review.