The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), announced this week a single presumptive monkeypox case in an adult male Chicago resident with recent travel history to Europe.
Initial testing was completed Wednesday, June 1, 2022, at an IDPH laboratory, and confirmatory testing for monkeypox is pending at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Based on initial epidemiologic characteristics and the positive orthopoxvirus result at IDPH, health officials consider this a probable monkeypox infection.
CDPH and IDPH are working closely with the CDC and the patient’s health care providers to identify individuals with whom the patient may have been in contact while they were infectious. This contact tracing approach is appropriate given the nature and transmission of the virus. The person did not require hospitalization and is isolating at home in good condition. To protect patient confidentiality, no further details relating to the patient will be disclosed.
The case remains isolated and at this time there is no indication there is a great risk of extensive local spread of the virus, as monkeypox does not spread as easily as the COVID-19 virus. Person to person transmission is possible through close physical contact with monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.
Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness, which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus family, and typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes, and progresses to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2 to 4 weeks. Monkeypox is typically endemic to parts of central and west Africa, and people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products.
As of June 2, 2022, the CDC reports 21 confirmed cases of orthopox/monkeypox across multiple states.
Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can spread monkeypox, but early data from this outbreak suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of initial cases.
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