Health experts concerned about monkeypox ahead of back-to-school season

NOW: Health experts concerned about monkeypox ahead of back-to-school season

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) --- It's been less than a week since the Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency. As cases continue to pop up across the U.S., doctors are concerned about what it means for back-to-school season.

Right now, there are at least seven confirmed cases of monkeypox here in Milwaukee. Health experts say they're closely monitoring how students could be impacted as they prepare to return to the classroom.

Dr. Dan Shirley is the medical director for infection prevention at UW Health. He says identifying where monkeypox is spreading is the first step to prevention. This is why we'll start to see increased testing in many places.

"Right now, we see that the bigger risk is in adult populations with a lot of close skin-to-skin contact," he said.

For schools, mitigating monkeypox will likely involve similar measures to how they dealt with COVID-19.

"I know college campuses are sort of thinking through all these ins and outs of how to test, how to protect those at risk and what do we do if they find a monkeypox case," said Dr. Shirley.

For students in younger age groups, it's too soon to know how much they could be impacted.

"For younger children going back to school, generally speaking the risk is lower," said Shirley.

He says identifying how widespread the cases are will inform how much of a concern there will be for younger kids.

Public health officials continue to stress that the threat of monkeypox remains low to the general public.

Click here for the CDC's recommendations for monkeypox prevention.

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