Monkeypox has been declared a public health emergency by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker

Governor JB Pritzker on Monday declared the spreading monkeypox virus a statewide public health emergency.

Illinois has the third highest number of monkeypox cases of any state, behind only New York and California. Pritzker’s declaration, which designated the state a monkeypox “disaster area,” will allow public health officials to respond more aggressively to the outbreak, the governor’s office said.

“MPV is a rare but potentially serious disease that requires the full mobilization of all available public health resources to prevent its spread,” Pritzker said in a statement.

The declaration, effective immediately and valid for 30 days, allows state agencies to coordinate more effectively and use new tools in the fight against the disease, the governor said in a statement.

The Illinois Department of Public Health can now expand vaccine and testing capacity with the help of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and access state and federal recovery and relief funds, the statement said. The declaration will also help facilitate vaccination logistics, the statement added.

“These measures will allow the state to deploy all its resources in the fight against this disease and will open effective lines of communication and cooperation across state borders, an important step in tracking monkeypox and improving tools and processes to prevent and deal with it.” , said Dr. Samir Vohra, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Pritzker’s emergency declaration follows one made on July 23 by the World Health Organization. The mayor of San Francisco declared a state of emergency over the virus on Thursday, and the mayor of New York declared one on Saturday.

Illinois is currently reporting 520 confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox, the governor’s statement said. Nearly one-tenth of the nation’s cases have occurred in Illinois.

Most of the state’s cases have occurred in Chicago, among the worst-hit cities nationwide. Chicago saw a sharp increase in reported infections last week, with a total of 326 cases reported as of Wednesday.

Chicago does not need a separate emergency declaration because the city is covered by the state’s declaration, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the city’s Public Health Commissioner Alison Arruadi said in a joint statement.

“This emergency declaration places much-needed, heightened attention on the monkeypox (MPV) outbreak we are seeing here in Chicago, across our state and across the country,” they said in the statement. “Ultimately, however, we need more support at the federal level to fully address the threat MPVs pose to our city.”

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The virus spreads mostly among men who have sex with men, public health officials at all levels said. The Chicago Department of Public Health is targeting vaccinations at this group, particularly those who have multiple or anonymous partners, even though there is nothing intrinsic to the disease that limits its spread to men who have sex with men, he has repeatedly said. Aruadi.

“Here in Illinois, we will ensure that our LGBTQ+ community has the resources they need to stay safe while ensuring that members are not stigmatized as they access critical health care,” Pritzker said.

The state has received 7,000 doses of the vaccine from the federal government and expects another 13,000 doses in the near future, the statement said. Many of the resulting doses have already been shared with the Chicago Health Department.

Health care providers and gay men in Chicago have called for a more robust response to the epidemic and more vaccines amid a national shortage. Pritzker called on the federal government to ramp up vaccination efforts in late July. The next day, the Chicago Department of Public Health announced that it would prioritize first doses with a new supply of vaccines, a move that was expected to delay the administration of many second shots.

Monkeypox virus, related to smallpox, was first discovered in humans in 1970 and is endemic to parts of West and Central Africa. The disease often begins with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes before progressing to painful, distinct, large rashes all over the body that look like pimples or blisters. Symptoms of monkeypox can last up to four weeks

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