Milwaukee clinics receive monkeypox tests, prepare for potential outbreak

NOW: Milwaukee clinics receive monkeypox tests, prepare for potential outbreak

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The monkeypox case count has climbed to eight in Wisconsin and some clinics are getting ready to test more people.

The Brady East STD Clinic in Milwaukee now has monkeypox tests in stock and has yet to test anybody. But they are preparing for a potential outbreak. Ruthie Weatherly, the clinic operations manager, said the tests are free.

"It does seem like this outbreak has been affecting individuals with more sexual-based transmission and because we are a sexual health clinic, we feel it's very important for us to provide those services," Weatherly said.

The clinic is working closely with the health department. Although there's just two reported cases in Milwaukee so far, Weatherly said that can change quickly.

"We do know our neighbor to the south, Chicago, has had many more cases than we have, we do know a lot of folks travel back and forth to Chicago and might have sex partners there, so we certainly want to make sure they have whatever they need to keep themselves safe," Weatherly said.

Dr. Dan Shirley with UW Health said he's not extremely concerned about a massive outbreak in the state. He said it's more difficult to catch. Prolonged skin-to-skin contact is still the main way monkeypox is spreading.

"The vast majority of cases have a risk factor that is that," Dr. Shirley said.

However, he said the virus is spreading within certain populations. A high number of cases have been reported among gay and bisexual men.

"The close contact is with other people of that same population. That's kind of thought what is spread among this particular demographic group," he said.

But anyone can get and spread monkeypox, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Weatherly said appointments for tests are available.

"We're ready and able to help them when we see them," Weatherly said.

For more information on monkeypox in Wisconsin, click here

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