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Cook County Public Health Officials Announce First Presumptive Case of Monkeypox
Case remains isolated, risk to suburban Cook County residents is low

Saturday, June 25, 2022
Special to suffredin.org

For Immediate Release - June 25, 2022
Contact: Don Bolger
312.465.3291
donald.bolger@cookcountyhealth.org

Cook County Public Health Officials Announce
First Presumptive Case of Monkeypox

Case remains isolated, risk to suburban Cook County residents is low

Forest Park, IL—Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced today the first reported presumptive case of monkeypox in a resident of suburban Cook County. Based on initial epidemiologic characteristics and the positive orthopoxvirus result at IDPH, health officials consider this a probable monkeypox infection. Confirmatory testing for monkeypox is pending at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The case remains isolated, and their close contacts are being identified by CCDPH and will be offered post-exposure vaccination per the CDC and IDPH recommendations. Monkeypox does not spread easily between people, and the time between exposure and when symptoms start (incubation period) gives health officials time to track down contacts and break the chain of infection. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

“The risk to residents of suburban Cook County remains low, but we want individuals to be aware of the signs and symptoms of monkeypox so that they seek medical care if they develop,” said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, CCDPH Chief Operating Officer. “CCDPH is actively tracking all the contacts of this case to make them aware of their risk and reduce possible transmission.”

Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious, viral illness which belongs to the orthopoxvirus family. Infection typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes and progresses to a rash on the face and body.

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Exhaustion
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus

Sometimes, people get a rash first, followed by other symptoms. Others only experience a rash. The rash goes through different stages before healing completely. Most infections last two to four weeks and resolve on their own, but some cases can become severe.

How monkeypox is spread:

Transmission occurs through close physical contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc), or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact. This includes anyone with prolonged skin-to-skin contact and bodily fluids, such as through crowded settings or sexual contact. Anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk.

Unlike COVID-19 which spreads easily through the air, the risk of monkeypox to the general public is currently low unless they engage in higher-risk behaviors. Having sex with multiple sex partners can increase a person’s risk of becoming infected when monkeypox is spreading in the community.

How to protect yourself:

·Consider covering exposed skin in dense, indoor crowds

·Don’t share bedding or clothing with others when possible

·Before having close, physical contact with others, talk to your partners about their health and any recent rashes or sores

·Stay aware if traveling to countries where there are monkeypox outbreaks

·Talk to your healthcare provider if you were potentially exposed. You may be a candidate for a post-exposure vaccination to prevent the development of the disease

How to protect others:

If you have symptoms particularly a rash consistent with monkeypox (even if you do not think you were in contact with anyone with monkeypox), or if you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with monkeypox:

·Stay home if you are feeling sick

·Contact a health care provider as soon as possible for an evaluation

·Avoid skin-to-skin, or close contact with others, including sexual contact, until a medical evaluation has been completed

·Inform sex partners about any symptoms you are experiencing

·Cover the rash with clean, dry, loose-fitting clothing

·Wear a well-fitted mask

·If you are contacted by public health officials, answer their confidential questions to help protect others who may have been exposed

While many of the cases currently appearing are within networks of self-identified gay and bisexual men, trans people, and men who have sex with men, people of any sexual orientation or gender identity can become infected and spread monkeypox.

Public awareness is important as the disease could spread within potentially larger groups or networks of people. CCDPH urges the media, government officials and the community at-large to avoid stigmatizing a particular group or person for monkeypox, but rather support those at highest risk and ensure that all communities remain vigilant.


Visit https://cookcountypublichealth.org/communicable-diseases/monkeypox/ to learn more about monkeypox.

###



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