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Monkeypox (Clade IIb)

What Is Monkeypox (Clade IIb)?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox is a rare but contagious disease first discovered in 1958, and is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus.  Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus - the virus that causes smallpox - with symptoms that are similar to, but milder than, smallpox.  It is rarely fatal.

The World Health Organization (WHO), is the governing body responsible for assigning new names to existing diseases. In accordance with current best practice for newly-identified viruses, related disease, and virus variants, they should be given names with the aim to avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups, and minimize any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare. As of August 2022, the World Health Organization is recommending that the new naming convention for the monkeypox virus be comprised of Clade I, Clade IIa and Clade IIb, with the latter referring primarily to the group of variants largely circulating in the 2022 global outbreak. The proper naming structure will be represented by a Roman numeral for the clade and a lower-case alphanumeric character for the subclades.

SUNY Schenectady is committed to creating, cultivating, and supporting diversity and inclusion across the College community, and will incorporate the new nomenclature for the virus as Clade IIb.

Clade IIb Symptoms Include:

  • Rashes, bumps, or blisters on or around the genitals or in other areas like your hands, feet, chest, or face.
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, and fatigue. These symptoms may occur before or after the rash appears, or not at all.
  • Symptoms may last from 2 to 4 weeks.

If you are not feeling well, please do not come to campus. 

Monitor your temperature and if you experience symptoms consistent with Clade IIb, such as characteristic rashes or lesions, you should contact your health care provider for a risk assessment. Increased risk includes anyone who has traveled to countries where monkeypox cases have been reported or has had contact with someone who has a similar rash, or who received a diagnosis of suspected or confirmed monkeypox.

How Does Clade IIb Spread?

Through close, physical contact between individuals, such as:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox sores or rashes on an individual who has the virus.
  • Respiratory droplets or oral fluids from someone with monkeypox, particularly for those who have close contact with someone or are around them for a long period of time.
  • It can also be spread through contact with objects or fabrics (e.g., clothing, bedding, towels) that have been used by someone with monkeypox.

In July 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul declared a State Disaster Emergency for New York state in response to the Clade IIb outbreak.  The College maintains contacts with County and State Health Department officials, as well as SUNY System, for the most current guidance in responding to the situation.  For more information about the virus, symptoms, vaccine information, and risk factors, please visit the New York State Department of Health or Schenectady County websites.