On Aug. 31, a St. Croix County resident tested positive for an orthopoxvirus
known as monkeypox. This individual is currently isolating. St. Croix County Public Health is working with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to notify any close contacts.
As of Aug. 31, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 56 cases of monkeypox in Wisconsin. While the number of monkeypox cases are increasing nationwide, the current risk of getting monkeypox remains very low for the general public.
“With cases increasing throughout the country and in Wisconsin, we are not surprised a case of monkeypox was identified in St. Croix County," Public Health Administrator Kelli Engen said. "Information about preventing monkeypox and treatments will be offered to all identified close contacts to help limit the spread of monkeypox... This disease does not spread easily from person to person. However, because anyone can get and spread monkeypox, all residents should be aware of the symptoms. Anyone who develops a new or unexplained rash should contact a healthcare professional or their local Public Health Department as soon as possible.”
Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness typically characterized by a new, unexplained rash and skin lesions. Recent cases have developed skin lesions in the genital and groin regions that may be confused with other rashes caused by common diseases such as herpes and syphilis. Someone with monkeypox may experience fever, chills, and swollen lymph nodes before developing a rash or sore.
Monkeypox primarily spreads through skin-to-skin contact. Anyone who has close, personal and sustained contact with a person who has monkeypox is more likely to get sick. Anyone who has direct contact with the sores, scabs, or body fluids of someone with monkeypox is at increased risk of getting sick.
The virus may also be spread through respiratory droplets and through touching items that have been contaminated with the fluids or sores of an individual with monkeypox.
To prevent the spread of monkeypox, St. Croix County Public Health and DHS encourage residents to:
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 areas with known monkeypox spread, avoid participating in activities with close, personal, skin- to-skin contact that may pose a higher risk of exposure.
Contact a healthcare professional and avoid close contact with others if you believe you were exposed to monkeypox; have a new, unexplained rash even if you don’t think you had contact with someone who has monkeypox; have a fever, chills, or swollen lymph nodes.
If you are sick with monkeypox, isolate at home until the rash has fully healed, scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed. Monitor for new symptoms for 21 days after your last exposure.
For more information on the symptoms and about preventing the spread of monkeypox, visit the DHS website. The public health officials recommend talking to a healthcare professional about vaccination and treatment if you had
known exposure to someone with monkeypox. More information on the on the monkeypox vaccination can be found on the website here.
For free, confidential support finding healthcare and community resources near you call 211 or visit 211Wisconsin.org. You may also call 877-947-2211 or text your zipcode to 898-211.