I survived the recent monkeypox outbreak in the United States

A MONKEYPOX survivor gave insight as the US grapples with the recent outbreak of the virus.

Cases have been confirmed in the US, UK, Portugal and Italy, while potential cases are being investigated in Canada and Spain.

dr Kurt Zaeske survived after contracting monkeypox nearly 20 years ago

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dr Kurt Zaeske survived after contracting monkeypox nearly 20 years agoCredit: Unknown, clear with picture desk
Zaeske believes the public is better prepared for the virus than it was in 2003

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Zaeske believes the public is better prepared for the virus than it was in 2003Credit: Unknown, clear with picture desk

However, nearly 20 years ago, Wisconsin had an outbreak of its own, and these new cases are significant for survivor Dr. Kurt Zaeske painful memories.

In 2003 he had come into contact with the virus as a veterinarian with a prairie dog he treated.

“Within about 48 hours of my handling of this sample, I became ill,” he told WISN.

Zaeske developed chickenpox-like lesions and suffered from nausea, dizziness and a high fever.

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The monkeypox chart shows the earliest signs of symptoms to look out for

“I started developing a blister on my thumb that didn’t look right, didn’t act right,” he said in 2003 after being quarantined for two weeks.

By that time, cases had been popping up across the state, prompting health officials to alert the public. At that time dr. Seth Foldy Health Commissioner of Milwaukee.

“Direct contact with the monkeypox skin lesion can transmit the virus,” he said in 2003.

In 2003, 71 cases of monkeypox were reported in the United States, 39 of them in Wisconsin alone.

Nearly two decades later, not a single case of the virus has been reported in the state, but officials said they are ready should the disease return.

“It’s not entirely foreign to us. The state of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Department of Health have a process in place for how you deal with the communicable disease that includes monkeypox, and we are prepared to deal with it,” said current Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson.

Zaeske believes the public is better prepared now than it was 19 years ago.

“We didn’t know what was going to happen (at the time),” he said.

A case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Massachusetts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A possible case was reported at Bellevue Hospital in New York City.

“We are investigating a possible case of monkeypox in NYC,” the tweet said @nycHealthy Account.

“Our Public Health Lab will carry out preliminary tests, which – if positive – will be sent to us @CDCgov for confirmation tests.

“The department’s epidemiologists will follow up on anyone who may have come into contact with the patient during an infection,” it said a statement by the country’s Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

MONKEYPOX SYMPTOMS

There are two main strains of the virus: the Congo strain, which has a 10 percent mortality rate, and the West African strain, which has a mortality rate of just 1 percent.

Spots often start on the face before spreading to other parts of the body, experts say.

The disease is a viral infection, similar to smallpox but milder.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the rash mainly affects the face (95 percent of cases) and hands (75 percent).

During the illness, the rash changes from raised red bumps to fluid-filled patches.

The patches eventually erupt and form crusts that later fall off.

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The infection causes two periods of illness. In the first phase, up to five days, patients may suffer:

  • A high temperature – 38 ° C or higher.
  • headache
  • Muscle cramp
  • back pain
  • swollen glands
  • chills
  • exhaustion
Cases have been reported in several states

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Cases have been reported in several statesPhoto credit: Getty
Health officials are urging the public to watch out for unfamiliar sores or rashes

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Health officials are urging the public to watch out for unfamiliar sores or rashesPhoto credit: Getty

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Sarah Y. Kim

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