Monkeypox has been declared a public health emergency in Illinois. Here’s what it means for residents – NBC Chicago

Governor of Illinois. JB Pritzker on Monday declared monkeypox a public health emergency, classifying the state as a “disaster area” due to the disease.

Illinois has the third-highest number of monkeypox cases, with 520, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York has the most reported cases at more than 1,300, followed by California at more than 800. registered cases.

More than 5,100 infections have been reported across the country.

Here’s what the governor’s declaration means for Illinois residents and what to know as the virus continues to spread across the state in ways experts haven’t seen before.

Monkeypox vaccines

According to a press release from Pritzker’s office, officials can easily ensure that the monkeypox virus (MPV) vaccine is shipped and that the communities most affected can receive treatment as soon as possible.

“The declaration of a state of emergency allows the Illinois Department of Health to expand vaccine and testing capacity with the assistance of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and state and federal recovery and relief funds,” the statement said. “This announcement will help with the complex logistics and transportation of vaccines across the state to effectively reach the most affected communities.”

According to a July 27 update from the Chicago Department of Public Health, the supply of monkeypox vaccine remains extremely limited, but “is expected to increase over the next several months as the United States receives additional doses.”

CDPH also added, “Vaccine is available only from the national stockpile, and federal partners distribute it to states and cities based on population and number of MPV cases. Chicago received an additional 15,000 doses of vaccine over the weekend, the city’s largest distribution. Gives you.”

“But,” CDPH continued, “there are many people who want to get the vaccine.”

The CDPH considers the vaccine a priority for those at “high risk,” including “anyone diagnosed with MPV or whose sexual partner has had close physical contact with someone diagnosed with MPV in the past 14 days.”

The city says the vaccine is available through select health care providers. and as vaccine availability improves, more people will be eligible for the vaccine.

According to public health officials, a full course of the vaccine consists of 2 doses given at least 4 weeks apart. It takes about 2 weeks for the first dose to take full effect.

Those at risk

Doctors said the overall risk to the general public remains low, and transmission is mostly through close personal or sexual contact – WHO’s chief expert on monkeypox, Dr. Rosamund Lewis said last week that 99% of cases of monkeypox outside Africa were in men, and 98% of those were men who had sex with men – the disease is spreading in ways experts have not seen before.

However, doctors emphasize that the virus does not discriminate.

“MPV is not a ‘gay disease,'” CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arvadi reported. “There is nothing in the biology of the virus that limits it to men who have sex with men. The virus spreads through dense social networks; it does not discriminate.’

According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, “person-to-person transmission of monkeypox occurs through contact with sores, fluids, or items contaminated with sores (clothing, bedding, etc.) and prolonged face-to-face contact.”

According to Arwadi, most cases “result from skin-to-skin contact or kissing” and most occur from casual contact and everyday activities, including shopping in crowded stores, going to a bar or coffee shop, riding crowded CTA trains and buses, or use of sports equipment or public toilets – does not pose any risk to contract with MPV.

According to Dr. Albert Ko, a professor of public health and epidemiology at Yale University, said, “Most importantly, we have seen a change in the epidemiology of monkeypox, where it is now a widespread, unpredictable epidemic. There are some genetic mutations in the virus that indicate why this is happening, but we need a globally coordinated response to get it under control.”

Monkey pox symptoms

CDPH considers monkeypox to be a rare but potentially serious viral illness that often starts with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes and progresses to rashes on the face and body, health experts said.

Symptoms of the virus range from fever, pain and rashes all over the body.

“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.

In the United States, some experts predict that monkeypox may be on the verge of becoming a sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea, herpes and HIV in the country.

A national response

The Biden administration is considering declaring a nationwide public health emergency in response to the growing outbreak, but has yet to do so. Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID response coordinator, said last week that the administration is considering how declaring a public health emergency could strengthen the U.S. response to the outbreak.

“There is no final decision on this that I know of,” Jha said. “It’s an ongoing but very active conversation at HHS.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is authorized to declare a public health emergency under the Public Health Act. The declaration will help mobilize federal financial assistance to respond to the outbreak.

The World Health Organization last week declared the virus a public health emergency of international concern, activating its highest level.

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