Monkeypox Virus Resources

Updated as of July 25, 2022

On July 1, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services shared that a Dane County resident was confirmed to have a case of orthopoxvirus, a group of monkeypox viruses. This case is the first known in Wisconsin. In addition, the World Health Organization recently declared monkeypox a global health emergency.

Although monkeypox is rare, it can cause severe infection in some people. Being aware of the symptoms and signs of monkeypox and being vigilant about monitoring monkeypox can help reduce the spread of the disease.


​What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. The monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as the variola virus, which causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. But, monkeypox can be severe and life-threatening for some.

 Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.

How does monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox spreads in different ways. The virus can spread from person-to-person through:

  • Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids.
  • Respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex.
  • Touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids.
  • Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

It's also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal.



What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Symptoms of monkeypox can include...

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Swollen lymphnodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.

The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms, and others may only experience a rash.

I think I might have monkeypox... what do I do?

If you think you may have monkeypox or have come into contact with someone who has monkeypox, it's important to reach out to your primary care provider (PCP) as soon as possible. They will help determine the next best steps for potential testing, monitoring, and care.

You can also reach out to the 24/7 GHC NurseConnect line at (608) 661-7350 or toll-free at (855) 661-7350 to get advice and determine next best steps for your care.

Public Health Madison and Dane County is asking Dane County residents that believe they may have been exposed to monkeypox please call the monkeypox hotline at (608) 266-4821. If you live outside of Dane County, you are encouraged to reach out to your local health department.



Is there a monkeypox vaccine?

There is an FDA-Approved monkeypox vaccine, but GHC-SCW is not currently vaccinating members for the virus due to limited supply. (Accurate as of July 25, 2022) Public Health Madison and Dane County are vaccinating residents on a case-by-case basis based on different eligibility requirements. Please call the monkeypox hotline at (608) 266-4821 if you believe you may qualify for vaccination.

As the monkeypox outbreak is ever-changing, vaccination eligibility and availability are subject to change. Please continue checking back for the latest information on monkeypox vaccine availability.

What can I do to protect myself from monkeypox?

Protecting yourself and your loved ones from monkeypox is key to helping stop the spread of monkeypox.

Here are some easy steps to preventing the spread of monkeypox:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people with a rash that looks like monkeypox.
    • Do not touch the rash or scabs of a person with monkeypox.

    • Do not kiss, hug, cuddle or have sex with someone with monkeypox.

    • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person with monkeypox.
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.