On June 30, 2022, the first case of monkeypox/orthopoxvirus was identified in Wisconsin. It was confirmed July 1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been actively monitoring monkeypox infection clusters in non-endemic countries, including the United States, since May 14 of this year. There were 396 confirmed cases of monkeypox/orthopoxvirus in the United States as of June 30. By July 1 the number has risen to 459 per the CDC.
States with the highest caseloads are California (95), New York (90), Illinois (53) and Florida (51). The disease has been confirmed in 32 states/territories including Washington DC and Puerto Rico.
The monkeypox virus is in the same virus family as smallpox. Typically, this virus is found in Central and West Africa. The United States rarely experiences outbreaks unless residents have traveled to countries where the disease is more common.
Monkeypox is not easily spread between people unless there is “close, sustained contact with an infected person,” according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Symptoms of monkeypox
While monkeypox typically is characterized by a rash and/or lesions that can become filled with fluid or pus, some people will also develop other symptoms. Typical rash development would be seen one to three days after a fever presents, however, people have been known to experience a rash or sores before fever, while others’ only symptom of the disease is a rash.
Symptoms can include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Muscle aches
There is no specific treatment for monkeypox; most people recover within two to four weeks. Antiviral medications can be used to lessen symptoms and/or prevent the onset of the disease. When someone has been exposed, monitoring for symptoms should take place for 21 days, including checking temperature twice per day.
Those who share space with an infected person should avoid contact with rash or sores, close contact such as kissing, and items such as bedding or clothing that has been exposed to the sores. Because this virus is spread through close, sustained contact, if a romantic partner has been diagnosed with monkeypox, avoid being intimate until all sores have healed completely.