Monkeypox treatment and testing in Minnesota and Wisconsin

With monkeypox declared a national health emergency in the United States, many of us have questions. You might want to know what the symptoms of monkeypox are and how it spreads. And importantly, what should you do if you get sick from monkeypox? We’re here to answer your questions and get you the care you need.

While the risk of catching monkeypox in the U.S. is low, it’s important to be informed about what to do if you get sick. The team at HealthPartners and Park Nicollet can help prevent, diagnose and treat monkeypox.

Monkeypox can spread easily. In order to prevent spreading the illness to others, don’t make a regular appointment with your doctor. Instead, call us to schedule an appointment. We’ll let you know where to go for monkeypox testing and treatment.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare illness caused by an Orthopoxvirus, the same type of viruses that cause smallpox. However, monkeypox is far less severe than smallpox and is rarely fatal. It’s characterized by flu-like symptoms and a rash on the face or body that can look similar to pimples or blisters.

The monkeypox virus is typically found near tropical rainforests in central and western Africa. Monkeypox can spread from person to person, from animal to person and sometimes from person to animal.

The risk of catching monkeypox remains low in the United States, but cases are spreading in several states across the country, including Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Monkeypox symptoms

A common symptom of monkeypox is a rash that may look like pimples or blisters. It can occur anywhere on the body including the face, genitals, hands, feet, chest or inside the mouth. The rash may be painful or itchy. It may appear 1-3 days after other symptoms, which include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Flu-like symptoms (chills, muscle aches, backache, fatigue)
  • Swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)
  • Respiratory symptoms (sore throat, cough, congestion)

Everyone experiences monkeypox differently. It’s possible to develop a rash without any other symptoms or have flu-like symptoms without a rash. You may notice only one or two sores or have a rash over your whole body. There’s a range of symptoms that vary from person to person.

If you suspect that you have symptoms of monkeypox, contact your doctor to ask about testing.

Monkeypox testing

Monkeypox can often be diagnosed with a physical exam. We’ll check you for a rash, sores and swollen lymph nodes, which can help differentiate monkeypox from other, similar illnesses. We’ll also ask you if you’ve been in contact with a person or animal who has monkeypox.

If we can’t determine whether you have monkeypox from a physical exam, we might perform diagnostic tests. If you have sores on your skin, we’ll swab them to get a sample. Then we’ll either examine the sample under a microscope or perform a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to look for the monkeypox virus in your DNA.

You can make a testing appointment by calling HealthPartners at 952-967-7676 or Park Nicollet at 952-993-2000.

What to do if you think you have monkeypox

If you have symptoms of monkeypox or have had contact with someone who was diagnosed with monkeypox, call to make an appointment with your doctor. We’ll give you instructions on how to visit a clinic to get tested.

Monkeypox can spread from close contact with someone with monkeypox or by touching surfaces an infected person has touched. It’s important to avoid sitting in the waiting room if you think you have monkeypox so you don’t give the illness to anyone else.

We’ll let you know exactly what to do and where to go when you arrive for your appointment. This will help you get the care you need while preventing the illness from spreading.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)