The announcement will free up money and other resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body.
There are now 533 confirmed monkeypox cases in Illinois. And one of those cases was confirmed last week in Cook County Jail. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s office said the individual is believed to have contracted the virus in the community prior to being ordered into custody.
By declaring the state a disaster area for the disease, the Illinois Department of Public Health will be able to more quickly coordinate the agency’s response to the spread of the virus and distribute vaccines more efficiently, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
In Chicago, 326 people have tested positive for monkeypox, according to city officials who are urging residents to educate themselves about the virus and to get tested if they have symptoms.
Additional monkeypox vaccines are arriving in Chicago, but they will be in limited supply. This as the World Health Organization this declared monkeypox a public health emergency.
“While we are pleased to be receiving these additional doses, we simply need more vaccine in Chicago,” said Dr. Alison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
The risk to Chicagoans from monkeypox remains low, according to Chicago Department of Public Health officials, who encouraged anyone who has developed a new or unexplained rash to see a health care provider.
The administration said it was expanding the pool of people who are advised to get vaccinated to include those who may realize on their own that they could have been infected. That includes men who who have recently had sex with men at parties or in other gatherings in cities where monkeypox cases have been identified.
People identified as close contacts to someone suspected or confirmed with monkeypox are being offered the vaccine, as well as treatment with antiviral medication for those with more severe illness, according to city health officials.
Nine cases of monkeypox have been detected in Chicago while one case has been identified in DuPage County, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Tuesday he decided to convene the emergency committee on June 23 because the virus has shown “unusual” recent behavior by spreading in countries well beyond parts of Africa, where it is endemic.
“While the risk in Chicago remains low, CDPH wants the public to be able to make informed choices about gathering in spaces or participating in events where monkeypox could be spread through close or intimate contact,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
The first probable case of the rare disease was discovered on Wednesday in a man who recently returned to Chicago from Europe, according to a statement from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Chicago Department of Public Health.
More than 100 cases of the virus have been reported globally, including in North America. While city officials are monitoring the situation, “at this point it has not been an explosive kind of outbreak,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Monkeypox is rarely identified outside of Africa. But as of Friday, there were 80 confirmed cases worldwide, including at least two in the United States, and another 50 suspected ones.