Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on Monday declared monkeypox a public health emergency and classified the state as a “disaster area” related to the disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois is the state with the third highest number of reported monkeypox infections at 520. New York has the most reported cases, with more than 1,300, followed by California, which has more than 800. reported cases.
There have been more than 5,100 infections nationwide.
Here’s what the governor’s statement means for Illinois residents, and what you need to know as the virus continues to spread across the state in ways experts say they’ve never seen before.
Now that the statement is in effect, officials can more easily secure the shipment of monkeypox virus (MPV) vaccines and ramp up distribution to ensure the most affected communities are treated as quickly as possible, according to a press release from Pritzker’s office.
“By declaring a catastrophic state, the Illinois Department of Public Helath can expand vaccine and testing capacity with help from the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and through state and federal recovery and relief funds,” the press release said. “This proclamation will help ease the complicated logistics and transportation of vaccines across the state to efficiently reach the most affected communities.”
According to a July 27 update from the Chicago Department of Public Health, the supply of monkeypox vaccines remains very limited, “although it is expected to increase in the coming months as the US acquires additional doses.”
CDPH also noted that “Vaccine is only available from the national supply and federal partners are distributing it to states and cities based on population numbers and MPV cases. Chicago received an additional 15,000 doses of the vaccine this weekend, by far the largest.” assignment of city to date.”
“However,” CDPH continued, “many more people want a vaccine than can get it.”
CDPH says the vaccine prioritises those at “highest risk,” including “anyone who has had close physical contact with someone diagnosed with MPV or whose sexual partner has been diagnosed with MPV in the past 14 days.”
The city says a limited vaccine is available through some health care providers. and that as vaccine supply improves, more individuals will be eligible for a vaccine.
According to public health officials, the complete vaccination course consists of 2 doses given at least 4 weeks apart. It takes about 2 weeks for the first dose to take full effect.
Those at risk
While doctors have said the overall risk to the general public remains low, transmission usually occurs through close personal or sexual contact. in men and 98% of them involved men who have sex with men – the disease is spreading in ways that experts have not seen before.
Still, doctors emphasize that the virus does not discriminate.
“MPV is not a ‘gay disease,'” said CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. “There is nothing inherent in the biology of the virus that limits it to men who have sex with men. The virus spreads through tight social networks; it does not discriminate.”
According to the Chicago Department of Public Health, “person-to-person transmission is possible through” close physical contact with monkeypox ulcers, items contaminated with liquids or sores (clothing, bedding, etc.), or through respiratory droplets that follow prolonged face-to-face contact. -face contact.”
Arwady said most cases “come from much more intimate skin-to-skin contact or kissing” and noted that most casual contacts and daily activities — including things like shopping at busy stores, going to a bar or coffeehouse, driving busy CTA trains and buses, or the use of gym equipment or public restrooms – pose little to no risk for contracting MPV.
According to Dr. Albert Ko, a professor of public health and epidemiology at Yale University, said: “Basically, we’ve seen a shift in monkeypox epidemiology where widespread, unexpected transmission is now taking place. There are some genetic mutations in the virus that suggest why that happens, but we need a globally coordinated response to get it under control.”
The CDPH says Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness, which often begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes, and progresses to a rash on the face and body, health experts said.
Virus symptoms range from fever, aches and rashes all over the body.
“Suspected cases can present with early flu-like symptoms and progress to lesions that can start in one place on the body and spread to other parts,” CDPH said previously.
dr. Irfan Hafiz, an infectious disease specialist at Northwestern Medicine’s McHenry and Huntley Hospitals, said the virus causes symptoms similar to a variety of ailments, including chickenpox or smallpox.
“To the layman, it can look like chickenpox or warts,” he said previously. “But these (ulcers) are usually in exposed areas.”
Health experts also stated that the disease can be confused with a sexually transmitted disease such as syphilis or herpes, or with the varicella zoster virus.
In the US, some experts have speculated whether monkey pox is on the brink of becoming an entrenched sexually transmitted disease in the country, such as gonorrhea, herpes and HIV.
The Biden administration is considering declaring a nationwide public health emergency in response to the growing outbreak, but has not yet done so. dr. Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID response coordinator, said last week that the administration was looking at how a public health emergency statement could bolster the U.S. response to the outbreak.
“There is no final decision on this as far as I know,” Jha said. “It’s an ongoing, but very active conversation at HHS.”
Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, has the authority to declare a public health emergency under the Public Health Act. A statement can help mobilize federal financial support to respond to a disease outbreak.
The World Health Organization last week activated the highest alert level and declared the virus a public health emergency of international concern.