Early signs to watch for virus spread in Chicago area – NBC Chicago

With the ongoing outbreak of monkeypox in Chicago and the World Health Organization declaring it a global emergency, what symptoms should you watch out for if you think you may have contracted the disease?

Experts warn that most people with monkeypox experience flu-like symptoms before the rash, but some may have a rash first, followed by other symptoms, or no other symptoms at all.

Flu-like symptoms may include fever, headache, muscle and back pain, sore throat, cough, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or fatigue.

“Suspected cases may present with early symptoms of influenza and may begin in one part of the body and spread to other parts of the body,” the CDPH previously said.

Dr. Irfan Hafeez, an infectious disease specialist at Northwestern Medicine’s McHenry and Huntley hospitals, said the virus causes symptoms similar to several diseases, including chickenpox or chickenpox.

“It might look like chicken pox or warts to the layman,” he said earlier. “But these (sores) happen in open areas.”

Health professionals have also reported confusing the disease with a sexually transmitted infection such as syphilis or herpes, or with the varicella zoster virus.

Symptoms usually begin within three weeks of exposure to the virus, health officials say, and most infections last two to four weeks.

“Anyone with a new or unexplained rash or rash that looks like monkey pox should talk to a health care provider, even if they don’t think they have been in contact with someone with monkey pox,” DuPage County health officials said in a statement. “Avoid close contact with others (including intimate physical contact) until a health care provider examines you.”

Illinois already has more than 340 cases, and DuPage County health officials reported four additional cases Monday.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 74 countries since about May. To date, monkey deaths have been reported only in Africa, where a more virulent version of the virus is spreading, particularly in Nigeria and Congo.

Still, the expanding outbreak is an “extraordinary” situation recognized as a global emergency, the head of the World Health Organization said on Saturday, which could prompt more investment in treatments for the once-rare disease and worsen the scramble for scarce vaccines.

A global emergency is the WHO’s highest level of alert, but this designation does not mean that a disease is particularly contagious or deadly. Similar declarations were made for the 2016 Zika virus and polio eradication efforts in Latin America, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We have an epidemic that is spreading rapidly around the world through new routes of infection about which we understand very little.” “I know it hasn’t been an easy or straightforward process and there are different perspectives.”

So how does the virus spread and how does someone get it?

In Africa, monkeypox is mainly transmitted to humans by infected wild animals, such as rodents, in limited outbreaks that do not cross borders. And in Europe, North America, and elsewhere, monkeypox is spreading among people who have no contact with the animals or who have recently traveled to Africa.

The World Health Organization’s top expert on monkeypox, Dr. Rosamund Lewis said this week that 99% of cases of monkeypox outside of Africa were in men, and 98% of those cases were men who had sex with men. Experts suspect that the epidemics of monkeypox in Europe and North America may have been transmitted sexually twice, in Belgium and Spain.

Human-to-human transmission is possible “through close contact with monkeypox sores, bodily fluids, or sore-contaminated items (clothing, bedding, etc.) or respiratory droplets after prolonged face-to-face contact.” to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

“I want to emphasize that monkeypox is not COVID,” said Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arvadi reported. “We’ve all been focusing on COVID for several years. You’ll hear a few more details, but it’s really about building on everything we know, and it’s going to require close and general communication.”

He added that “most of the cases where we see this is from intimate skin to skin contact or kissing.”

According to Dr. Sharon Welbel, director of epidemiology and infection control at Cook County Health Hospital, said the virus is not usually spread by “contact with someone.”

“Usually, it’s a sore that’s going to crack or break open and become something that’s not visible other than a scratch or a crack in the skin,” he said. to bump into someone, to be in a room with someone, to share a place with someone’.

He noted that it “requires long-term communication in general.”

Experts have warned that there is no evidence that the virus was transmitted through the air.

Dr. Amu Hazra, an infectious disease physician at Howard Brown Health, said that while most cases are in men who have sex with men, “the virus doesn’t care how you identify.”

Two children in the United States have contracted monkeypox, health officials said on Friday. In addition to the two pediatric cases, health officials say they know of at least eight women among the more than 2,800 cases reported so far in the United States.

Chicago has a very limited supply of the vaccine, with only 5,400 doses available citywide. More than 15,000 doses are expected soon from the federal government and another 2,600 from the state of Illinois.

“We’re doing everything we can to prioritize vaccinations for the people most at risk, but the reality is that given the very limited national supply … tens of thousands of people are eligible and unable to access.” said Howard Brown Healthcare CEO and President David Ernesto Munar.

Currently, if you are in close physical contact with a confirmed case or if you are a man who has had sex with another man in a social or sexual setting, you are eligible to receive a two-dose vaccine. Additionally, those who receive money for sex or have sex with anonymous partners are eligible.

The CDC recommends the Jynneos vaccine to men who report more than four male sexual partners in the past 14 days.

As of last week, the US had distributed 156,000 doses of the Ginneos vaccine to states, increasing testing capacity to 70,000 tests per week. Many cities and states offer doses of the vaccine to people with known or suspected exposure to the virus, including men who have sex with men and transgender, gender nonconforming, or nonbinary residents with multiple sexual partners.

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