CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — The first case of monkeypox has been detected in Illinois.
The Chicago Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Public health made the announcement on Thursday, saying an adult man with recent travel history to Europe has been diagnosed with a presumptive case of the virus.
“The case remains isolated and at this time there is no indication there is a great risk of extensive local spread of the virus, as monkeypox does not spread as easily as the COVID-19 virus. Person to person transmission is possible 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,” the IDPH said in a statment.
Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness, which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus family, and typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes, and progresses to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2 to 4 weeks. Monkeypox is typically endemic to parts of central and west Africa, and people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products.
In a public session on Monday, WHO’s Dr. Rosamund Lewis said it was critical to emphasize that the vast majority of cases being seen in dozens of countries globally are in gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men, so that scientists can further study the issue and for those at risk to be careful.
Lewis said it’s unknown whether monkeypox is being transmitted by sex or just the close contact between people engaging in sexual activity and described the threat to the general population as “low.” Monkeypox is known to spread when there is close physical contact with an infected person or their clothing or bedsheets.
She also warned that among the current cases, there is a higher proportion of people with fewer lesions that are more concentrated in the genital region and sometimes nearly impossible to see.