Monkeypox case suspected in Appleton

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

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

“The good news is we went through the wringer and we are prepared,” said Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson.

At the moment, the test results are still pending and are expected on Thursday. We were told that the person tested has symptoms consistent with monkey pox.

Early symptoms include new rashes or skin lesions. Recently identified cases involved skin lesions on the genitals, groin and anal areas that could be confused with sexually transmitted diseases. Other symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever, and chills.

Vaccinations and antiviral treatments are available. People who received the smallpox vaccine decades ago may also have some protection against the disease or reduce its severity.

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

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

“During COVID, we had to come up with our own testing clinics, our own vaccination clinics, and so we are going to be at the forefront of this. It’s a good thing we have good leaders in the city and county, so I’m very confident. I’m confident we’ll do what we can to get out of 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 who has monkey pox. Also:

  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash or skin sores. Do not touch the rash or scabs, and do not kiss, hug, hug, have sex, or share items such as eating utensils or bedding with anyone with monkey pox.
  • In areas with known spread of monkeypox, participation in activities involving close, personal skin-to-skin contact may carry a higher risk of exposure.
  • If you have recently been exposed to the virus, talk to a doctor or nurse to discuss whether you need a vaccine to prevent illness. Check your health for a fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and a new, unexplained rash and contact a health care provider if any of these occur. If you get sick, avoid contact with others until you get health care.

Nationally, most of the patients in this outbreak were men who had sex with other men, but health officials warn that anyone is at risk if they have close contact with a person who is infected.

For free and confidential support to locate healthcare resources near you, call 211 or call toll-free 1-877-947-2211. You can also text your zip code to 898211.

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