© 2022 NPR Illinois
Stand with the Facts
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Click here to be "In the know." Subscribe to the NPR Illinois Daily newsletter.

Illinois resident tests positive for monkeypox virus

Wikimedia commons

The first case this year of monkeypox has shown up in Illinois.   Health authorities said it involves a Chicago adult male with a recent travel history to Europe. 

Officials are also working to identify individuals with whom the patient might have had contact. 

The patient is isolating at home in good condition., according to a news release.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said at this time, there is NO indication of a greater risk of local spread of the virus.

Person to person transmission is possible through close physical contact with body fluids, sores, items that have been contaminated or through prolonged face-to-face contact.

Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious illness that typically begins with flu like symptoms and progresses to a rash.  As of Thursday, there has been a total of 19 confirmed cases in the U.S.

The first known human case was identified in 1970. One human outbreak in the U.S. in 2003 occurred when African rodents came in contact with pet prairie dogs at an Illinois animal vendor. Some persons in contact with the infected prairie dogs developed monkeypox, including 10 Illinois residents.

According to federal health officials, clinicians should consider a diagnosis of monkeypox in people who present with a consistent rash, especially if they 1) had contact with someone who had a rash that looks like monkeypox or someone who was diagnosed with confirmed or probable monkeypox, 2) had skin-to-skin-contact with someone in a social network experiencing monkeypox activity; this includes men who have sex with men who meet partners through an online website, digital application (app), or social event (e.g., a bar or party), 3) traveled outside the US to a country with confirmed cases of monkeypox or where monkeypox activity has been ongoing, or 4) had contact with a dead or live wild animal or exotic pet that exists only in Africa or used a product derived from such animals (e.g., game meat, creams, lotions, powders, etc.).

People who have a new or unexplained rash, sores, or symptoms, or have a confirmed exposure should see a healthcare provider, remind them that the virus is circulating in the community, and avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until they have been seen. If a person or their partner has monkeypox, they should follow the treatment and prevention recommendations outlined by their healthcare provider and avoid sex or being intimate with anyone until all sores have healed or have a fresh layer of skin formed.

Suspected cases may present with early flu-like symptoms and progress to lesions that may begin on one site on the body and spread to other parts. Illness could be clinically confused with a sexually transmitted infection like syphilis or herpes, or with varicella zoster virus.

For more about this virus, visit https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/ and https://chi.gov/monkeypox.

Related Stories