Monkeypox declared global health emergency by WHO

Sat. July 23, 2022 6:17 PM by News Staff

cdc is urging healthcare providers in the u.s. to be alert

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Chicago health officials step up outreach in gay and bisexual community

The global monkeypox outbreak has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).

It is the seventh time such a declaration has been made since 2009, the most recent being for Covid-19.

While a global health emergency is the organization's highest alert level, it doesn't always mean a disease is highly transmissible or lethal.

In this case, experts hope the designation will spur more investment in combating the disease amid a scramble for scarce vaccines. 

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) this week announced plans to prioritize the first doses of the monkeypox vaccine—and delay scheduling the second shots. 

"This is the right approach," CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said on July 22. "We've looked at all the data and feel that that is the best way to control this outbreak."

The city's strategy follows those of other cities, including San Francisco and New York City.

As of July 22, there were 202 cases of monkeypox in Chicago and 230 reported in the state overall—putting Illinois among the top five states in the country, the city's health department said.

Most of Chicago’s cases have been on the north side and among men who have sex with men. 

“It’s nothing specific about being gay, bisexual or same gender loving men, but that is the network we’ve been initially seeing that spread,” said Arwady. 

Howard Brown Health and Rush University Medical Center are working with the city to step up outreach are are currently rolling out monkeypox vaccines in Chicago. 

First symptoms may include flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headaches, muscle aches, backaches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, or exhaustion.

CDPH recommends a monkeypox virus screening if you are experiencing symptoms. Individuals can contact Howard Brown Health at 773-388-1600 to schedule an appointment.

If you believe you have the monkeypox virus, separate from others immediately. 

No deaths from the disease have been reported in Chicago.