Monkeypox case suspected in Appleton

APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services confirmed Wednesday that it is investigating the first potential case of monkeypox in the city of Appleton.

DHS says a resident of the city is currently in isolation while the Appleton Health Department and DHS are identifying people who may have been in contact with that person.

“The good news is we’ve been through the wringer and are ready,” Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson said.

At this time, test results are still pending and are expected on Thursday. We are told that the person who was tested has symptoms consistent with monkeypox.

Early symptoms include new rashes or skin lesions. The recently identified cases involved skin lesions on the genitals, groin and anal regions which can be confused with sexually transmitted diseases. Other symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever, and chills.

Vaccines and antiviral treatments are available. People who received the smallpox vaccine decades ago may also experience some protection against the disease or reduced severity.

This is at least the fifth case of monkeypox in Wisconsin. Cases have also been confirmed in Dane, Milwaukee and Langlade counties. Nationwide, more than 2,000 cases have been confirmed.

Nelson says in the aftermath of COVID-19, health officials are much better prepared to deal with viruses, including monkeypox.

“During COVID, we had to create our own testing clinics, our own vaccination clinics, and so we are going to be on the front line. Luckily we have good leadership with the city and county, so I’m confident. I’m confident we’re going to do what we can to overcome this,” Nelson said.

The DHS advises anyone with a rash to get tested, even if you don’t think you’ve been in contact with someone with monkeypox. Also:

  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash or skin lesions. Do not touch the rash or scabs, and do not kiss, hug, hug, have sex, or share objects such as cooking utensils or bedding with a person with monkeypox.
  • In areas where the spread of monkeypox is known, participation in activities with close, personal, skin-to-skin contact may present a higher risk of exposure.
  • If you have recently been exposed to the virus, contact a doctor or nurse to find out if you need a vaccine to prevent illness. Monitor your health for fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and a new, unexplained rash, and contact a healthcare provider if any of these occur. If you become ill, avoid contact with others until you receive health care.

Nationwide, most patients in this outbreak are men who have had sex with other men, but health officials warn that anyone is at risk if they come in close contact with someone infected.

For free, confidential support in finding healthcare resources near you, dial 211 or call toll-free 1-877-947-2211. You can also text your postal code to 898211.

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