Monkeypox: What to know

On Aug. 4, the United States declared Monkeypox a public health emergency. While there are currently no cases on campus, there are eight cases in the city of Milwaukee and 31 cases in Wisconsin. For the most up to date data, visit the City of Milwaukee Health Department. While Monkeypox is a rare infection, it is important to know the symptoms of Monkeypox, what to do if you think you have Monkeypox or have been exposed to Monkeypox, and how to prevent Monkeypox.

Monkeypox usually is not seen in the United States, but cases started to appear in May 2022 and now ongoing community transmission through direct contact with individuals infected with Monkeypox is occurring in the United States and other non-endemic countries.

Monkeypox is transmitted person-to-person through close intimate contact with someone who has Monkeypox, including direct contact with infected skin lesions, recently contaminated objects or respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact. While Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection, it most easily spreads through prolonged, close skin-to-skin contact and is often passed along during sexual activity with a person who has Monkeypox.

Steps to prevent getting Monkeypox: 

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like Monkeypox
  • Do not handle or touch the bedding, towels or clothing of a person with Monkeypox
  • Do not share eating utensils or cups with a person who has Monkeypox
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after contact with someone who is sick

Signs and symptoms of Monkeypox:

Monkeypox symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure and last 2-4 weeks.

Monkeypox is typically characterized by a rash that initially looks like pimples or blisters.

  • In the current outbreak, the rash is usually located on or near the genitals
  • The rash could be on other areas like hands, feet, chest or face
  • The rash may be painful or itchy
  • The rash goes through stages, including scabs before healing
  • Monkeypox can be spread until the rash heals, scabs fall off and new skin layer is formed

Additional symptoms may occur, including:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Muscles aches
  • Headache
  • Respiratory symptoms

Individuals infected with Monkeypox may experience all or only a few of the symptoms noted above: 

  • Individuals may experience flu-like symptoms before the rash
  • Some individuals may develop the rash first, followed by other symptoms
  • Others may only have a rash

If you have reason to believe that you have been exposed to or may have Monkeypox, isolate at home and contact your doctor or the Marquette University Medical Clinic at 414-288-7184. They will contact the Milwaukee Health Department to arrange testing if indicated and coordinate care.

Limited supply of vaccine

The City of Milwaukee Health Department has a limited supply of Monkeypox vaccine for individuals with certain risk factors. The vaccine is not currently available for administration by individual clinics or universities.

The university will continue to monitor medical guidance and will share additional information as it is available. If in the future there is a case of Monkeypox on campus, the university would follow its usual protocol for outbreak of a contagious virus such as measles or mumps, including arranging for the individual to isolate. View more information about Monkeypox and current case counts on the CDC website or one of the websites below.

For additional information:

City of Milwaukee Health Department – limited vaccine supply

Wisconsin Department of Health Services – Monkeypox information