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Monkeypox cases surge as students return to campus

By Abby Schlueter

This month, cases of the Monkeypox virus have grown exponentially in Champaign County. Monkeypox - which health officials now call MPV - had three reported cases in the county before August 11th and now the total count is up to 10.

As thousands of students return to campus, it is likely that many more cases will be reported soon. Many of the students have come from the upstate hotspot counties in and around Chicago and may have brought the virus with them. Though, no students have yet tested positive they do have a high-risk level when it comes to contracting it.

The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has released several infographics and press releases concerning the spread of MPV in the county. The press releases are updates on the first two cases reported in the county.

The infographics give answers about how to best avoid the spread of MPV and the stigmas surrounding it.

Though early transmissions were concentrated in gay and bisexual men, this is not the general rule. On Twitter, that stigma infographic made it clear to the county that anyone is able to get the virus.

The increase in cases from that one demographic is due to a skew in who was actively testing. Those who perceived the virus as a type of STI amongst gay and bisexual men wouldn't have been tested and thus the results were exacerbated.

Now, with classes at the university in session and an increase in COVID cases, MPV is speading too. Officials warn against close skin-to-skin contact though MPV can also be spread through fabrics.

As students sit in lecture hall seats that go unsanitized between classes while trying to stay cool in the unseasonably warm weather, they could be contracting MPV that way.

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