Second monkeypox case confirmed in Wisconsin, in Milwaukee County resident

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — Wisconsin health officials have identified the second confirmed case of orthopoxvirus, presumed to be monkeypox, in a resident of Milwaukee County.

The patient, whose illness was confirmed Saturday, is isolating, and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is working with federal and local officials to identify people who had been in contact with the person.

This is the second case in Wisconsin; the first was confirmed in a Dane County resident on June 27.

Although the number of confirmed monkeypox cases is growing in the United States, the overall risk to the general public remains low, health officials say. As of Friday, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 767 confirmed monkeypox and orthopoxvirus cases in the country.

Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral disease. It typically is characterized by a new, unexplained rash and skin lesions. Other early symptoms include fever, chills and swollen lymph nodes. Recently identified cases have developed skin lesions in the genital, groin and anal regions that health officials say might be confused with rashes resulting from common diseases such as herpes and syphilis.

“DHS continues to work closely with federal, state, and local partners to monitor the current outbreak of monkeypox in the United States and here in Wisconsin,” said Wisconsin DHS Secretary-Designee Karen Timberlake.

“Current evidence from around the country shows that the virus is spreading mostly through close, intimate contact with someone who has monkeypox,” Timberlake said.

Monkeypox does not spread easily from person to person, according to a DHS advisory, which notes that 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.

While anyone can develop monkeypox infection if they have close contact with someone who is sick, the CDC reports that most cases in the U.S have occurred among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

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.

People who had known exposure to someone with monkeypox should talk with a doctor or nurse to learn if they are eligible to receive a vaccine, according to the DHS.

To prevent the spread of monkeypox, the DHS said people should:

  • Know the symptoms and risk factors of monkeypox. Anyone with a rash that looks like monkeypox should talk to a doctor or nurse about whether they need to get tested — even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has 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 have been exposed to the virus, contact a doctor or nurse to talk about whether you need a vaccine to prevent 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.

For free, confidential support finding health care and community resources near you, dial 211 or (877) 947-2211, or text your ZIP code to 898-211. Online resources are available at 211Wisconsin.

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