Officials with the Chicago Department of Public Health have documented 29 cases of the virus that can cause intensely painful lesions between April 22 and Tuesday, after recording just five cases between Jan. 1 and April 15, according to city data.
The two people — about whom no other information was shared — both had underlying health conditions, including weakened immune systems, and were diagnosed with the virus more than six weeks ago, officials said.
A recent study from the CDC finds that in a sample of nearly 2,000 people who had monkeypox, 38% also had HIV infection and 41% had an STI in the preceding year. Those rates are much higher than the rates of HIV and STIs in the general population.
While cases in white men have dropped in recent weeks, Black people are making up a growing percentage of infections — nearly 38% during the final week of August, according to the latest data available. Latinos are also disproportionately infected, making up roughly a third of infections.
The Chicago Department of Public Health announced that the city will receive another 20,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine from the federal stockpile, to be distributed to clinics across the city next week.
Dr. Sameer Vohra took over the Illinois Department of Public Health earlier this month.
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.