How fast is testing in Wisconsin? A monkeypox Q&A

MADISON, Wis. — The state has announced three positive cases of monkeypox identified in Wisconsin so far, with at least 929 positive cases identified nationwide as of Wednesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here’s some commonly-asked questions about the rare but potentially-serious disease:

How long does testing take in Wisconsin?

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services say testing turnaround time for monkeypox is typically less than a 24-hour turnaround from receipt on weekdays.

Currently, the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene and Milwaukee Health Department Lab are handling public health testing for monkeypox in the state; however, people can also seek out private testing at commercial labs like Mayo and Labcorp.

Other states around the country are experiencing testing delays and vaccine shortages, the New York Times has reported. Wisconsin health officials say the number of their pending tests is changing rapidly because of how quickly they’re able to manage their turnaround times.

RELATED: DHS: Second presumed monkeypox case identified in Wisconsin

Where do I get a vaccine?

The state is currently able to provide vaccines to anyone who has had close or intimate contact with someone with either a probable or confirmed monkeypox diagnosis, or someone with the characteristic monkeypox rash. More vaccine is expected to arrive in the state in the next few weeks, DHS spokesperson Elizabeth Goodsitt said, to increase the availability for people with post-exposure prophylaxis.

“People who had known exposure to someone with monkeypox should talk with a doctor or nurse to learn if they are eligible to receive a vaccine,” Goodsitt noted.

Who is at risk?

The CDC said early data suggests gay and bisexual men, as well as other men who have sex with men, make up a “high number” of the country’s cases. The disease spreads through respiratory droplets, skin-to-skin contact or contact with contaminated items. Symptoms also include fever, chills, exhaustion, headaches, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes.

DHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard said that while the disease “does not spread easily from person to person,” clinicians should encourage patients who come in with rashes to be tested for monkeypox.

What should I do if I think I have monkeypox?

First, it’s always recommended to check with your primary care provider with any health concerns.

Some symptoms of monkeypox overlap with symptoms of other sexually transmitted infections like herpes or syphilis, health officials said, so many people are going to one of Wisconsin’s more than 40 sexual health clinics to get tested as well as multiple other avenues.

Resources:

Wisconsin Department of Health Services: Monkeypox info

Harvard Medical School: What to know about monkeypox