Kenosha County has identified its first confirmed case of orthopoxvirus (monkeypox), Health Officer Jen Freiheit announced today.
Contract tracing is underway, and the risk to the general public is low, Freiheit said.
“While monkeypox is certainly contagious, it does not spread easily from person to person,” Freiheit said. “The guidance we’re receiving is telling us that an individual must have close, sustained contact with an infected person in order to contract the virus.”
Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. People with monkeypox generally develop a characteristic skin rash or lesions. Additional symptoms including fever, chills and swollen lymph nodes may also occur.
Typically, people become infected with monkeypox by having direct contact with the skin lesions, scabs, or body fluids of an infected person, through prolonged face-to-face exposure to respiratory secretions or during intimate physical contact, or through touching items such as clothing that previously touched the infectious rash.
Most people recover in two to four weeks without need for treatment, although vaccinations and antiviral medications can be used to prevent and treat monkeypox. There is currently a limited supply of the vaccine in the United States, although more is expected to become available in the coming weeks and months.
Isolation and contact tracing are key strategies to limit transmission, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services advises. In the current outbreak, eight cases have been confirmed in Wisconsin as of Friday, with 2,593 cases confirmed nationally as of Thursday.
More information from the state Health Department is available at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/outbreaks/index.htm.