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2003 Wisconsin monkeypox survivor reflects on the outbreak


The World Health Organization meets daily to determine its next steps in containing monkeypox. So far, cases have been confirmed in the UK, Portugal, Sweden, Italy and the US. Cases in Canada and Spain are also being investigated. Wisconsin faced its own epidemic of the disease nearly 20 years ago. The cases spread after prairie dogs sold in Wisconsin were found to be infected. WISN 12 caught up with a man who survived the 2003 outbreak on Friday. The re-emergence of monkeypox in the United States brings back painful memories for Dr. Kurt Zaeske. He survived the monkeypox epidemic of 2003. The man from Lake Geneva was a veterinarian in 2003 and came into contact with a prairie dog carrying the virus. , or smallpox-like lesions, nausea, dizziness, and high fever. Zaeske spoke to WISN 12 in 2003 after being quarantined for two weeks. public as more and more cases have arisen in Wisconsin.Dr. Seth Foldy was Milwaukee’s health commissioner at the time. “Direct contact with the skin lesion of monkeypox can transmit the virus,” he said in 2003. There were 71 cases of monkeypox reported in the United States in 2003. Of these, 39 were diagnosed in Wisconsin. There has not been a single case in Wisconsin reported in the 19 years since, but health officials have said they are ready if monkeypox returns. the Milwaukee Health Department on how you handle communicable disease, of which monkeypox is one, and we are ready to handle it,” current Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said Friday. 19 years ago. “We didn’t know what was going to happen (then),” he said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Massachusetts. Six other cases are being investigated across the country. Two cases were diagnosed in 2021. The CDC determined that the monkeypox virus was likely introduced to the United States in 2003 from a distributor where Gambian prairie dogs and giant rats were housed together in Illinois . “A search of imported animal records revealed that Gambian giant rats were shipped from Ghana in April to a wildlife importer in Texas and then sold to the distributor in Illinois,” a CDC report said. “The shipment contained approximately 800 small mammals of nine different species which may have been the true source of the monkeypox introduction.”

The World Health Organization meets daily to determine its next steps in containing monkeypox.

So far, cases have been confirmed in the UK, Portugal, Sweden, Italy and the US.

Cases in Canada and Spain are also being investigated.

Wisconsin faced its own epidemic of the disease nearly 20 years ago.

The cases spread after prairie dogs sold in Wisconsin were found to be infected.

WISN 12 caught up with a man on Friday who survived the 2003 outbreak.

The re-emergence of monkeypox in the United States brings back painful memories for Dr. Kurt Zaeske.

He survived the 2003 monkeypox outbreak.

The man from Lake Geneva was a veterinarian in 2003 and came into contact with a prairie dog carrying the virus.

“Within about 48 hours of handling this specimen, I became ill,” he said on Friday.

He developed chickenpox or chickenpox-like lesions, nausea, dizziness and high fever.

Zaeske spoke with WISN 12 in 2003 after being quarantined for two weeks.

“I started developing a blister on my thumb that didn’t look right, didn’t act right,” he said at the time.

Health officials in 2003 warned an alarmed public as more cases emerged in Wisconsin.

Dr. Seth Foldy was Milwaukee’s health commissioner at the time.

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

There were 71 cases of monkeypox reported in the United States in 2003.

Of those, 39 were diagnosed in Wisconsin.

There hasn’t been a single reported case in Wisconsin in the 19 years since, but health officials have said they’re prepared if monkeypox returns.

“It’s not something that’s completely alien to us. There’s a process within the State of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Health Department about how you handle communicable disease, including monkeypox in is part of it, and we’re ready to handle it,” the current health commissioner, Kirsten Johnson, said on Friday.

Zaeske thinks there would be less concern today about an outbreak than he remembers 19 years ago.

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

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Massachusetts.

Six other cases are being investigated across the country. Two cases were diagnosed in 2021.

The CDC determined that the monkeypox virus was likely introduced into the United States in 2003 from a distributor where Gambian prairie dogs and giant rats were housed together in Illinois.

“A search of imported animal records revealed that Gambian giant rats were shipped from Ghana in April to a wildlife importer in Texas and then sold to the distributor in Illinois,” a CDC report said. “The shipment contained approximately 800 small mammals of nine different species which may have been the true source of the monkeypox introduction.”

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