Monkeypox Illinois: 2nd probable case identified is close contact of Chicago man who was IL’s 1st case


CHICAGO (WLS) — A second probable case of monkeypox has been identified in Illinois, Chicago public health officials said Friday.

The second person to test positive for monkeypox is, according to a statement from the Chicago Dept. of Public Health a close contact of the first positive case.

“The risk to the general public remains low,” the statement said.

Chicago and Illinois public health officials on Thursday confirmed the state’s first probable case of monkeypox in an adult male Chicago resident who recently traveled to Europe.

An initial test at an IDPH lab returned a positive orthopoxvirus result, and confirmatory testing is pending at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Chicago is a very large international hub for travel,” said Dr. Irfan Hafiz, Chief Medical Officer for Northwestern Medicine Northwest Region. “It was inevitable that we would see a case or two in Chicago, possibly more.”
Unlike COVID-19, a new virus, monkeypox has been around since the 1950s, and most cases come from Central and West Africa.

RELATED: US on track to release monkeypox vaccine from national stockpile to ‘high risk’ people: CDC

But since the beginning of the year, the CDC has identified 22 cases of monkeypox in 19 states in this country. And while this is a first in Illinois, doctors don’t expect a widespread outbreak.

“Even though it’s unlikely to spread to a large number of people like COVID, the people who get it can be quite sick,” said Dr. John Segreti, epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center.

Symptoms include rashes, sores, and lesions that often appear severe, as well as fever and muscle aches. In a joint statement, state and city health officials said: “The individual did not require hospitalization and is in good condition at home.

According to doctors, monkeypox is generally transmitted through skin contact, although it can also be transmitted through contaminated clothing or bedding. And while it can make patients very ill, it’s not usually fatal.
Doctors say the smallpox vaccine generally works to protect against monkeypox, and there are also antiviral drugs on the market to treat the virus once a patient has it.

“You won’t get it if you walk past someone or see them on a bus,” Segreti said. “You have to be in very close contact with someone.”

Public health officials say there is very little to no risk for those who did not have close physical contact with the Illinois monkeypox patient. They are in the process of conducting contact tracing to identify those who may have been close to the patient.

“I don’t think we’re going to see many cases, but maybe a few dozen cases,” Segreti said.

Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue. People with more severe illnesses can develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands, which can spread to other parts of the body. No deaths have been reported in the current outbreak outside of Africa.

Unlike COVID-19, the likelihood of asymptomatic spread of monkeypox is considered low. In this Illinois case, officials say they are conducting contact tracing. But at the moment there is no evidence of significant spread.

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All rights reserved.

You May Also Like