2 Chicago residents die of monkeypox, CDPH says

Monkeypox symptoms include those similar to flu, rash

ByTre Ward and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Saturday, October 22, 2022
2 Chicago residents die of monkeypox, CDPH says
Two Chicago residents have died after being diagnosed with the monkeypox virus, city health officials reported Friday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Two Chicago residents have died after being diagnosed with the monkeypox virus, health officials reported Friday.

Both patients had multiple other health conditions, including weakened immune systems, and both had been hospitalized after receiving a monkeypox diagnosis more than six weeks ago, according to a press release from the Chicago Dept. of Public Health.

The deaths of the two adults are unrelated to each other, CDPH said. Additional details, including the hospitals where the patients had been receiving treatment, will not be made public.

Chicago has reported 1,061 monkeypox cases. And while cases have plateaued in Chicago, doctors are still urging people to remain vigilant.

"Everyone in the city as well as the federal public health officials are looking at this closely and remaining vigilant," said Dr. Anu Hazra, with Howard Brown Health.

CDPH is encouraging individuals who meet the eligibility criteria to get two doses of the MPV vaccine 28 days apart. And even after getting vaccinated, CDPH recommends still taking precautions, especially if you are at high risk for severe illness from monkeypox.

WATCH: What is Monkeypox & should you worry?

UNC infectious disease physician explains where Monkeypox came from and other things people need to know about the virus.

"It is not a new vaccine. It's been around for a very long time, so it has a very good track record at reducing the severity, and in most cases, eliminating the disease itself," said Northwestern Medicine infectious disease expert, Dr. Irfan Hafiz.

MPV spreads through close, intimate contact. Human-to-human transmission occurs by direct contact with lesions or infected body fluids, or from exposure to respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face close contact.

The disease can cause flu-like symptoms and a rash. A person is considered to be infectious until there is full healing of the rash with formation of a fresh layer of skin.

"So, we don't know the details in the cases in Chicago, but we know from other CDC data of other deaths or severe illness with Monkeypox relation has been linked to advanced HIV, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS," Dr. Hazra said.

Gov. JB Pritkzer has declared the disease a public health emergency in Illinois. However, deaths from Monkeypox remain rare. In the U.S., the latest data from the CDC reports fewer than 10 deaths nationwide.

National monkeypox-related deaths

"The vast majority of people with MPV who died have had other health conditions along with MPV causing severely weakened immune systems," Chicago's top doctor, Allison Arwardy said in a statement. "Please continue to take it seriously. If you're at risk of MPV infection, take prevention steps and get vaccinated to protect yourself and your loved ones."

Among the more than 75,000 cases reported globally this year, there have been 32 reported deaths, according to the World Health Organization.