Today the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) launched a new webpage containing state data on monkeypox cases and vaccine administration. The release is part of ongoing efforts to increase awareness and transparency about how the monkeypox outbreak is affecting Wisconsinites.
“This data provides key insights that will help empower Wisconsinites to stay healthy, safe, and informed,” said Secretary-designee Karen Timberlake. “As the monkeypox outbreak continues to evolve, DHS is committed to providing accurate and relevant data to the public.”
The new webpage contains an in-depth summary report through September 26, 2022, that highlights case demographics, hospitalizations, and vaccine allocation and administration efforts. The page also includes monkeypox case counts by geographic location. DHS plans to update the summary report monthly. Case counts by geographic location will be updated weekly on Wednesdays.
Early data show monkeypox is having a disproportionate impact on Wisconsin communities of color. Slowing the spread of monkeypox among communities at the highest risk of infection remains a top priority and requires multiple public health strategies. DHS is working with monkeypox vaccinators, local and tribal health departments, and other partners to address these disparities:
- Working with trusted health care providers and community-based organizations to help identify and remove barriers to getting vaccinated against monkeypox.
- Prioritizing vaccine for organizations that serve those at the highest risk for monkeypox.
- Increasing the network of monkeypox vaccinators throughout the state.
- Developing toolkits and other communication materials to help partners share information about monkeypox.
DHS encourages all partners to continue to work with trusted providers and community-based organizations serving communities of color to help identify and remove barriers to seeking care and getting vaccinated.
Most new monkeypox cases in Wisconsin and across the nation continue to occur in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, but the virus that causes monkeypox spreads most easily during prolonged skin-to-skin contact, including during sex. DHS encourages anyone who develops a new or unexplained rash to contact a doctor or other health care provider immediately. In addition, everyone should avoid having close skin-to-skin contact with others who have new or unexplained rash. For those without a provider, help is available by dialing 211 or 877-947-2211, or texting your ZIP code to 898-211.
DHS strongly encourages those who are eligible to get vaccinated to do so. The monkeypox vaccine is safe and effective at preventing illness and is available at select locations throughout Wisconsin. If you are unable to make an appointment at a location offering the monkeypox vaccine, contact your local or tribal health department for assistance.