First monkeypox case found in Sangamon County

Artistic representation of the monkeypox virus. Image by Samuel F. Johanns from Pixabay

The Sangamon County Department of Public Health (SCDPH) announced the first local case of monkeypox on Wednesday.

Illinois has recorded about 383 cases of monkeypox, mostly in the Chicago metro area and Metro East, the two largest metropolitan areas.

The SCDPH said that the case was an adult male who presented systems to his healthcare provider, according to the department. Confirmation tests have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The department said the case is isolated and they are working with the patient and their healthcare provider to identify any other people they may have come into contact with. As of Wednesday, SCDPH said there is no great risk of widespread infection.

According to the CDC, monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and monkeypox is rarely fatal. Monkeypox is not related to chickenpox. In recent months, there has been a growing number of cases in areas where it is not common. It spreads by skin to skin contact or by touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

The current outbreak has been spreading among gay and bisexual men since the initial outbreak was traced to a large gay event in Spain. However, anyone who is in close contact with someone with monkeypox can get the virus.

Jeff Wilhite, communications director for Sangamon County, said that the IDPH is committed to providing monkeypox vaccine to the county on an as-needed basis for those caring for patients or close contacts.

“At this time, there is not a sufficient supply for mass vaccination of the public,” he said.