The city of Milwaukee in Wisconsin has confirmed its first case of monkeypox.
According to news outlets, this marks the second documented monkeypox case in Wisconsin, with the first case recorded in Dane County.
The Milwaukee Health Department confirmed that the infected person was isolated, and their close contacts got notified of his condition. A spokesperson also released a statement saying that the individual is doing well.
Per Dr. Ben Weston, an emergency physician at Froedtert Hospital and Milwaukee County’s health policy advisor, there is no reason for people to panic or be extremely alarmed because monkeypox is not as transmissible as the coronavirus.
Wisconsin’s health leaders have also stressed to the public that the risk remains low. They will relay more information in the coming weeks as they learn more about the particular strain behind the outbreak.
“There is some droplet respiratory spread of monkeypox, that’s possible, but we’re really talking hours of interaction time, as opposed to just a few seconds or minutes or like COVID. The more typical transmission is skin-to-skin contact, prolonged skin-to-skin contact,” Weston said.
He added that while rare, touching objects and surfaces used by a person infected with monkeypox can also transmit the disease.
With an incubation period between five days to two weeks, monkeypox manifests through various symptoms, including fever, chills, and body aches. The new strain sets itself apart by leaving skin lesions that resemble pimples or blisters. Recovery can take anywhere between two to four weeks.
“For most people, it’s a self-limited illness. Most people don’t require intensive medical treatment or hospitalization or anything like that. But what is important is to prevent that spread to others. And that’s where the vaccine comes into play,” Weston explained.
Thus far, most recorded cases are among men who have sex with men. However, Weston has reiterated that anyone can have an infection, saying that it has nothing to do with sexuality, but “it does have to do with close skin-to-skin contact.”