CHICAGO (CBS) – Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on Monday declared the monkeypox virus a public health emergency and declared Illinois a disaster area for the disease.
The statement applies statewide and will allow the Illinois Department of Public Health to coordinate logistics to assist with vaccine distribution and treatment and prevention efforts. The statement will also help coordinate the state’s response with the federal government.
“MPV is a rare, but potentially serious disease that requires the full mobilization of all available public health resources to prevent further spread,” Governor Pritzker said in a press release. “That’s why I’m declaring a state of emergency to ensure smooth coordination between state agencies and all levels of government, increasing our ability to prevent and treat disease quickly. We’ve seen this virus have a disproportionate impact on the LGBTQ+ community during its initial spread. Here in Illinois, we will ensure that our LGBTQ+ community has the resources it needs to stay safe while ensuring that members are not not stigmatized when accessing essential health care.”
The proclamation takes effect immediately and will remain in place for 30 days. The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern on July 23.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady released a statement endorsing the state’s public health emergency declaration and saying an additional statement for the city will not is not necessary:
“This emergency declaration brings increased and needed attention to the outbreak of Monkeypox (MPV) we are seeing here in Chicago, in our state and across the country. Since the beginning of this outbreak, the Department of Public Health of Chicago is working diligently with clinical and community partners to educate and vaccinate residents at increased risk and we will continue to do so.Ultimately, however, we need more support from the federal level to fully respond. to the threat that MPV poses to our city.We hope this statement joins a chorus of others across the country and encourages the rapid scaling up and distribution of vaccines.This statement will empower the state to use powers emergency supply and directly involving other state agencies, such as the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA), in the Chicago does not require a separate emergency declaration te because we are covered by that of the State, and in addition, we already have a local emergency y supply process; a strong local distribution network; and a diverse group of clinical and community partners working to educate and vaccinate Chicagoans at increased risk.”
As of Monday, a total of 520 cases of monkeypox were reported in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Health. This total includes all probable and confirmed cases.
The city of Chicago has reported a total of 330 cases as of July 28.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said monkeypox can be spread through close, personal and often skin-to-skin contact. Officials noted the the virus is spreading mainly among men with same-sex partners.
According to the CDC, symptoms include breathing problems, fever, rash. A full list of symptoms can be found here.
CDC officials said symptoms typically begin “within 3 weeks of exposure to the virus.” The illness usually lasts two to four weeks.
As CBS 2 reportedpatients described painful sores all over their bodies, as well as fevers, headaches, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes.
Cases of monkeypox often clear up after a few weeks without further treatment. Some reported cases have been more serious and have resulted in hospitalizations.