Monkeypox has officially been named a public health emergency for Illinois, as Gov. JB Pritzker announced that the state is a disaster area for the disease.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is not new, and has been around since the 50s. It is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus. Officials have started to refer to the virus as MPV. The disease is said to be painful with rash-like lesions forming on the skin that last for two to four weeks.
According to the CDC, the rash can look like pimples or blisters and can appear on your face, face, hands, chest, or genitals. It can also be internal, making it difficult for people to eat, drink or go to the bathroom.
Some may only experience a rash, while others can develop symptoms such as:
- Muscle aches and backache
- Swollen lymph nodes, including in the neck and groin
- Exhaustion and malaise
As for the current outbreak is that the virus has spread globally. But how exactly does it spread?
- The virus can spread through person-to-person contact.
- Coming into direct contact with a person’s infectious rash, scabs or body fluids.
- Someone coming into contact with an infected person’s respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact.
- Coming into contact with items like clothing or linen that were previously touched by an infected person.
The virus is rarely deemed fatal but can cause intense pain with an infectious rash. Now that there’s a state of disaster order in place, a 30 day protection order has also gone into place, giving state officials time to coordinate with the federal and local governments.
Who can get monkeypox?
Anyone can get monkeypox with officials saying that there is nothing specific about being part of the LGBTQ+ community that makes someone more susceptible to monkeypox If you think you have symptoms, get tested for the virus. It is best to isolate and limit skin to skin contact with others if you can after receiving medical care.
How to get a vaccine:
The Illinois Department of Public Health plans to help distribute vaccines and inform the public about preventing and treating monkeypox.
The vaccines are two shots, administered four weeks apart. If you need to get a monkeypox vaccine, the city’s health department has an official site on where to get vaccinated. Vaccines for Monkeypox are currently available but doses can be hard to find as officials are working on getting more doses to Chicago. People without a health care provider can call the city health department at 312-746-4835 to figure out the best way to receive a monkeypox vaccine.
Vaccine appointments are available at the following places:
- Health department Lakeview clinic, 2849 N. Clark St., Phone number: 312-744-5507.
- Howard Brown Health Clark, 6500 N. Clark St., Phone number: 872-269-3600.
- Howard Brown Health Sheridan, 4025 N. Sheridan Road, Phone number: 872-269-3600.
- Howard Brown Health 63rd, 641 W. 63rd St. Phone number: Phone number: 873-269-3600.
- Howard Brown Health 55th, 1525 E. 55th St., Phone number: 872-269-3600.
- Wellness Home Lakeview, 2835 N. Sheffield Ave., No. Phone number: 500, 773-296-2400.
- Wellness Home Halsted, 3416 S. Halsted St., Phone number: 773-621-7725.
- RMR Core center, 2020 W. Harrison St., Phone number: 312-448-4286. Website
- Rush University adolescent family center, 1645 W. Jackson Blvd., Suite 315A, Phone number: 888-352-7874.
- Esperanza, 2001 S. California Ave., Suite 100. Website
- Project Wish/UIC, 840 S. Wood St., Room B39. Website
Find available places on chicago.gov here.
How many cases are there?
Illinois has seen the third-most number of diagnosed cases out of any state. With 547 found in IL. For daily updates on the number of cases in your area, check here.
How to prevent monkeypox:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom
- Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox
- Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used (sharing eating utensils or cups, handling bedding, towels, or clothing of a person with monkeypox)
- Practice safe sex, and avoid having sex if you or your partner has a new unexplained rash or has been feeling sick.
- Limiting your number of sex partners may reduce the possibility of exposure. (Having multiple or anonymous sex partners may increase your chances of exposure to monkeypox.)
- Consider how much skin-to-skin contact will occur at the event you plan to attend. Lower risk activities include festivals, events, and concerts where attendees are fully clothed and unlikely to share skin-to-skin contact
We will update with more information as it becomes available. For now, check chicago.gov.
[Featured photo via: Shutterstock]