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Monkeypox on college campuses? Health experts say the risk is real.

As students head back to college, health experts are warning universities to be ready for potential Monkeypox outbreaks.

CLEVELAND — Health sources say Ohio's allotment of more than four thousand doses of Monkeypox vaccine will be distributed around the state to areas that need it most. 

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They'll start with the gay community where the majority of cases have been confirmed. 

Local health departments will likely be distribution points but the goal is to work with partnered health clinics to administer vaccines.

The state is still working on specific criteria of who should get the vaccine considering the supply is limited.tribution points, but the hope is to work with partnered health clinics.  

Meanwhile, health experts are warning college campuses to be prepared with a plan since thousands of students will be returning to classes in the next couple of weeks. 

Students, who've already dealt with two years of COVID-19 may be dealing with another infectious virus on campus. 

The CDC reports more than 6,300 Monkeypox cases in the U.S. including 30 in Ohio. 

While some areas have declared a state of emergency, Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, calls monkeypox a disease of significant public concern.   

"College students need to pay really close attention to the news reports in the same way they would monitor the weather for an impending storm." says infectious disease expert, Dr. Rachel Cox of the MGH Institute of Health Professions. 

"I think it's definitely possible for college campuses to be the next hotspot, it's obviously an area where there's a lot of close contact, living in dorms, and there also tends to be a lot more sexual activity and experimentation and things like that," Dr. Cox said. 

She expects numbers to grow rapidly in the weeks and months ahead and says college campuses need to be ready.  Monkeypox cases seem to be doubling every two weeks in the U.S. 

"I think they should be on high alert for this upcoming storm possibly, they should be prepared for a plan in place for distribution of vaccines, testing and treatment if need be," Dr. Cox said. 

Case Western Reserve University said in a statement to 3News:

Case Western Reserve University is aware of the recent significant growth in monkeypox cases nationwide, and will collaborate with our local and state public health departments to respond to developments that may affect our campus community. As part of preparations for the start of the new academic year, we will be informing our campus community regarding monkeypox symptoms, risk factors, and preventive measures.

Last week Ohio Department of Health released detailed reporting guidance for medical staff and it's expected they'll have more directives in the coming days. 

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