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Monkeypox detected in Milwaukee resident, doctor explains the disease

Africa Monkeypox
Posted at 3:56 PM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 18:34:36-04

MILWAUKEE — An outbreak of a rare disease called monkeypox has made its way to Milwaukee.

This is the second documented case in Wisconsin, the first was recorded in Dane County.

The Milwaukee Health Department announced the news on Monday saying the infected person is isolated and notified close contacts. On Tuesday, a spokesperson said the individual is doing well.

Dr. Ben Weston, an emergency physician at Froedtert Hospital and Milwaukee County's health policy advisor, said people should not be extremely alarmed and that monkeypox is not nearly as transmissible as COVID.

Wisconsin health leaders stressed the risk to the general public remains low. They expect to see more cases in the coming weeks.

"There is some droplet respiratory spread of monkeypox, that's possible, but we're really talking hours of interaction time, as opposed to just a few seconds or minutes or like COVID. The more typical transmission is skin-to-skin contact, prolonged skin-to-skin contact," Dr. Weston said.

WATCH: Dr. Weston breaks down monkeypox

Milwaukee doctor explains monkeypox disease

Touching objects and surfaces that have been used by an infected person can also transmit the disease.

Monkeypox has an incubation period between five days to two weeks from when you are exposed to when symptoms start.

Symptoms include fever, chills, and body aches. However, the rashes and skin lesions that develop set this disease apart. They can look like pimples or blisters. The rashes may be confused with those from diseases like herpes or syphilis.

Recovery may take two to four weeks.

"For most people, it's a self-limited illness. Most people don't require intensive medical treatment or hospitalization or anything like that. But what is important is to prevent that spread to others. And that's where the vaccine comes into play," Dr. Weston explained.

When it comes to monkeypox, healthcare providers want to vaccinate the person who is infected and the people around them to prevent the spread, a strategy called ring vaccination.

Dr. Weston said right now a lot of educational efforts are underway in the medical community.

"Monkeypox is just not something that the vast majority of us have ever seen in our careers. We see pictures of it, we can read about it, but we haven't actually seen it in patients and so understanding what precautions do you take," Dr. Weston said.

At this point, recorded cases are largely among men who have sex with men who have multiple partners. However, anyone can develop an infection.

"It has nothing to do with your sexuality or gender or anything like that, but it does have to do with close skin-to-skin contact," said Dr. Weston.

If you were exposed to monkeypox or have concerns about symptoms, isolate and contact your health care provider or local health department to get tested.

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