The Wisconsin Department of Health Services announced they have identified the first confirmed case of monkeypox, otherwise known as orthopoxvirus, in a resident of Dane County.
They added that the case was identified on June 30, the patient is currently isolated and the risk remains low for the general public.
There have been 396 confirmed monkeypox and orthopoxvirus cases in the United States due to this outbreak.
“The number of monkeypox cases continues to rise in the US, so it is not a surprise that monkeypox has now been detected in Wisconsin,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard in a news release. “While it’s likely that additional cases will be found among Wisconsinites, we are relieved that this disease does not spread easily from person to person. We’d like for all clinicians to remain alert to patients with compatible rashes and encourage them to test for monkeypox. . We want the public to know that the risk of widespread transmission remains low. “
DHS said that monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious disease caused by the monkeypox virus.
It is typically characterized by a new, unexplained rash and skin lesions. Other early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, chills, and swollen lymph nodes. Recently identified cases have developed skin lesions in the genital, groin, and anal regions that might be confused with rashes caused by common diseases such as herpes and syphilis.
Most people with monkeypox recover in two to four weeks without needing treatment. However, vaccinations and antiviral medications can be used to prevent and treat monkeypox.
The Department of Health Services adds that monkeypox does not spread easily from person to person. The virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets, sustained skin-to-skin contact, and contact with items that have been contaminated with the fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox.
To prevent the spread of monkeypox, DHS encourages all Wisconsinites to be aware of the following:
- Know the symptoms and risk factors of monkeypox.
- Avoid skin-to-skin contact with people who are showing a rash or skin sores. Don’t touch the rash or scabs, and don’t kiss, hug, cuddle, have sex or share items such as eating utensils or bedding with someone with monkeypox.
- In jurisdictions with known monkeypox spread, participating in activities with close, personal, skin-to-skin contact may pose a higher risk of exposure.
- If you were recently exposed to the virus, contact a doctor or nurse to talk about whether you need a vaccine to prevent the disease. Monitor your health for fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes and a new, unexplained rash, and contact a health care provider if any of those occur. If you become ill, avoid contact with others until you receive health care.
State health experts say they’re in a much better position with this than they were with COVID-19 because they know a lot about the virus, and they have vaccines and treatments available for people who need them.
Wisconsin’s last outbreak was in 2003. At that time, health officials reported 39 cases in the state.