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La Crosse sees 1st case of monkeypox

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FILE - A sign is displayed outside a DC Health monkeypox vaccine clinic, Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, in Washington. Three DC Health clinics began offering limited walk-up monkeypox vaccinations for eligible residents Friday, pending vaccine availability. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The first case of orthopoxvirus, otherwise known as monkeypox, has been identified in La Crosse County.

La Crosse County’s health department is working with the state on disease investigation and follow up.

The health department says risk is low, but people should be aware of symptoms:

  • fever
  • chills
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • muscle aches
  • headache
  • exhaustion
  • new unexplained rash that develops into hard, round, fluid or pus-filled skin lesions

Monkeypox spreads through direct skin contact with someone that has a rash or contact with objects/surfaces used by someone with monkeypox (bedding, clothing, or a toothbrush).

It can also spread through respiratory droplets.

Monkeypox is not typically spread during short periods of close contact. Most people recover in 2-4 weeks.

A vaccine is available for those at high risk of contracting the disease, including those who have recently been exposed.

Contact your healthcare provider or the health department for more information. The limited supplies of available vaccine are being prioritized for use. A health care provider or the health department can assist people in accessing it.

To prevent the spread of monkeypox, individuals should be aware of the following recommendations:

  • Know the symptoms and risk factors of monkeypox
  • Avoid close, skin to skin contact with the monkeypox rash, or those who show a rash or skin sores.
  • If you were recently exposed to the virus, contact a doctor or nurse to talk about whether you need a vaccine to prevent disease. Monitor your health symptoms and if you become ill, avoid contact with others until you receive health care.
  • If sick with monkeypox, isolate at home until the rash has fully resolved, the scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.

More information about the virus and how to limit infection risk can be found at the Wisconsin DHS website or the CDC monkeypox website.

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