On Aug. 17 students, faculty and staff at the University of Maryland’s College Park campus received an email alert disclosing the institution’s first presumed case of monkeypox. (Photo by the Food and Drug Administration)

By Tinashe Chingarande,
Special to the AFRO

The first presumptive case of monkeypox was reported at the University of Maryland on Aug. 17, according to a campus-wide email sent to students, faculty and staff.

The email assured the university community that precautions were being taken to prevent the spread of the disease on campus.

“The staff member has taken all necessary medical steps and is doing well,” said Spyridion Marinopoulos, director of the University Health Center, in the email.

Marinopoulos added that the school has responded with the appropriate cleaning and disinfection measures as per guidelines prescribed by the U.S. Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), and noted that it will work with the Prince George’s County Health Department to notify those who need to be informed regarding the case.

The university community was advised in the email to avoid skin-to-skin contact with individuals who have a rash that looks like monkeypox, contact with materials used by a person with the disease and washing one’s hands often with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based sanitizer. 

“As this disease continues to be present across the country and the world, it is likely we will experience MPX cases on campus,” said Marinopoulos. “Our University Health Center staff will be working with county health officials to monitor cases and coordinate targeted communication and response.”

Despite the number of cases nationwide almost halving in the past 7 days, the CDC reports 14,115 monkeypox cases across all 50 states as of Aug. 18. 

Maryland has ranked 12th when it comes to monkeypox in the United States—a total of 349 cases, according to CDC data. 

So far, there have been no deaths reported.

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