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Oconto County visitor had monkeypox, exposure believed to be isolated

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Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 9:43 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2022 at 5:50 PM CDT
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OCONTO COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - An out-of-state visitor to Oconto County had monkeypox and was contagious during the visit, according to the Public Health Department.

Health officials say it was “an isolated exposure.”

“The Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Oconto County Public Health were recently notified that a non-Wisconsin resident who tested positive for monkeypox was visiting Oconto County while they were contagious,” reads a statement.

Due to patient privacy, no additional information was released.

There are no confirmed cases of monkey box in Wisconsin at this time. Health officials say the risk of widespread transmission is low at this time.

“I think the health care community definitely needs to be aware of it. We could see more cases with the current outbreak, but only 45 to date have been identified in the U.S., in general, Wisconsin has still not had a resident test positive for monkeypox. So it’s still very unlikely,” said Dr. Michael Landrum, Infectious Disease Physician, Bellin Health.

Health officials also say the disease does not spread easily from person to person, you would have to have close, personal, or intimate contact with an infected person, for up to three hours in some cases.

“It takes close contact and that could either be skin-to-skin or sharing respiratory secretions,” said Dr. Dan Shirley, Medical Director of Infection Prevention, UW-Health.

The CDC is tracking multiple cases of monkeypox in the United States.

Health officials say the time from infection to seeing symptoms, could take around two weeks.

“The first symptoms actually are non-specific, so you might feel ill, super tired, you might have a fever,” said Dr. Shirley.

Initial symptoms include fever, malaise, swollen lymph nodes, headache, and weakness.

Health experts say within a day or two, those symptoms are followed by a rash and lesions.

“The rash starts as a small red spot, develops into a small bump and then develops into a blister, and then gets larger before it finally scabs over,” Dr. Landrum said.

Infectious disease physicians say while they don’t believe monkeypox will become a widespread outbreak, they want people to be aware of the risks that are out there.

“If you would be included in some of the risk groups that we’ve seen that have had monkeypox, it’s good to be aware of it. Those individuals we’ve seen a majority of cases in people who have identified as either gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men,” said Dr. Landrum.

“It’s not clear how the people were exposed to monkeypox, but early data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases. However, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk,” reads a statement from the CDC.

Moving forward, health officials urge people to watch closely for symptoms and keep a close eye on where outbreaks are happening.

CLICK HERE for more information about monkeypox.

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