COVID-19 | October 27th, 2022

Monkeypox and Florida A&M University Homecoming? What?

By: Jala Johnson
Monkeypox and Florida A&M University Homecoming? What?

The COVID-19 pandemic was followed by monkeypox, another viral disease catching the world’s attention. According to the American Society for Microbiology, over 11,800 cases have been reported in the United States alone. A more significant number than any other country.

Homecoming week is the busiest week for students at Historical Black Colleges and Universities, and at Florida A&M University, safety measures must be taken for students and others.

Read on to learn ways to stay safe and informed about monkeypox during FAMU’s homecoming week.

According to STAT News, a study found 82% of people with the monkeypox disease were Black in Georgia. This information from STAT News also says that the disparities appear further compounded by the lack of access for men and women of color.

Patrice McLean, a licensed practical nurse, spoke about the probable reasons black people in the U.S. are hesitant about getting vaccinated for diseases like COVID-19 and monkeypox.

“With the fear of past studies on Black Americans that were fatal or had lifelong severe adverse effects,” said McLean.

McLean would further explain that Black people not being educated on vaccines hinders their approach to getting vaccinations.

Did You Know?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. The monkeypox virus usually affects rodents, such as rats or mice, or nonhuman primates, such as monkeys.

Abe Drisdom, a senior public relations student at Florida A&M University, expressed historical reasoning for Black Americans not getting vaccinated for diseases like monkeypox.

“Historical events like the Tuskegee Syphilis where people of color were unknowingly being used for scientific research,” Drisdom said.

The disparities between Black and white people seem to be further compounded not just because of access but lack of education on such topics.

Jayla Barnes, a nurse practitioner at Community Hospice, found that it’s vital for information on monkeypox and other diseases to be informed in the Black community.

“Instead of making decisions about their health care based on fear, African-Americans should remember knowledge is always power, and it enables us to protect ourselves, families, and communities,” said Barnes. “When anyone understands how a disease is contracted as well as measures to prevent them they then are able to reduce their risk by promoting those safety practices.”

McLean even mentioned that most affected in the Black community are Black men than women.

“Stats show Black Americans have been affected more especially black males, compared to other Americans. It’s best to get educated and make the choice to protect yourself by getting vaccinated if not allergic or knowing the signs and symptoms to protect yourself and others around you,” said McLean.

There are three ways to protect yourself from monkeypox, according to the Centers for Disease Control: You should avoid skin-to-skin contact with people with a rash that resembles monkeypox. No kissing, hugging or having sex with someone who has monkeypox.

It is also important to avoid touching objects and materials touched by someone with monkeypox. Don’t share your eating utensils or cups with someone you suspect has monkeypox. Last but not least, wash your hands frequently. Make sure your hands are clean by washing them with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

So, take advantage of resources and information on monkeypox. It is imperative that we do not let monkeypox strike again. Enjoy and stay safe during homecoming week!