CDC reports 672 monkeypox cases in Illinois. What to know about vaccines, treatment

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 672 monkeypox cases in Illinois as of Tuesday, Aug. 9.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said in a July 28 statement (when there were 401 cases reported in the state) 85% of cases were in Chicago and cases were recorded in 13 counties statewide, including Cook County.

The CDC has confirmed at least 8,934 monkeypox cases throughout the nation.

Note: This graphic will automatically update as new data become available.

The 2022 U.S. outbreak has primarily affected men who have sex with men and their social networks, though the disease is not exclusively spread through sexual contact and people of any sexual orientation or gender identity can contract and spread monkeypox.

IDPH reported the state had received 7,371 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine as of July 28, and the city of Chicago had received 18,707 doses.

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IDPH officials were not immediately available to answer questions from the News-Democrat about any additional vaccine allocations since July 28.

The JYNNEOS vaccine is typically administered through two doses, but Illinois health authorities are currently prioritizing giving more eligible individuals the first vaccine rather than administering two doses due to “the demand for the vaccine outstripping supplies.” IDPH advises people who are in certain elevated risk categories may be prioritized for two doses.

The prioritization of first doses means most people will not get a second vaccine 28 days after their first, IDPH says. The agency says the vaccine offers protection for at least several months after the first dose, and individuals should schedule a second dose as soon as sufficient vaccine supplies are available.

The vaccine is available in limited quantities in areas with high case burdens, IDPH says, and the CDC does not recommend widespread vaccination against monkeypox at this time.

Those who believe they have been exposed to monkeypox or live in an area with a high case count can contact local health authorities about vaccine availability.

St. Clair County Health Department announced the area’s first probable monkeypox case July 14. Officials have not announced any additional monkeypox cases in the county so far and said in July there was no great evidence of extensive local spread.

IL officials have administered more than 2,000 monkeypox vaccines. Who’s eligible?

What are possible symptoms of monkeypox?

Monkeypox symptoms can include fever, headache, muscle aches, fatigue and enlarged lymph nodes, IDPH says. A rash typically appears shortly after the initial onset of symptoms, and it can look like pimples or blisters anywhere on the body.

The disease is a “mild illness” in most cases, according to IDPH, and symptoms usually last two to four weeks. Some people may only experience a rash.

While most people who are infected recover without needing specific treatment, IDPH says, health professionals may recommend an antiviral drug called TPOXX to people who are more likely to become severely ill with monkeypox, such as immunocompromised patients or individuals with severe disease.

The World Health Organization reported May 30 TPOXX is effective against a monkeypox virus infection.

If you have symptoms of monkeypox or believe you may have been exposed or infected, authorities recommend you contact your health care provider about potential testing, vaccination or treatment.

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