Chicago health officials emphasize testing, prevention amid demand for Monkeypox vaccine

Illinois is in the top five states with the most infections

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ByLeah Hope via WLS logo
Friday, August 5, 2022
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Health officials acknowledge the demand for the Monkeypox vaccine outweighs supply currently, so the emphasis is on testing and prevention.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The United States has declared monkeypox a public health emergency.

President Biden appointed two federal officials to oversee the nation's response.

The Cook County commissioner is now calling for a hearing to address the monkeypox outbreak following the declaration.

The number of monkeypox cases in the U.S. has now surpassed 7,000, including several children, according to global data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Illinois is in the top five states with the most infections.

RELATED: What is monkeypox? What to know about virus, symptoms, spread as US confirms 1st 2022 case

Globally, nearly 27,000 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed across 88 countries.

WATCH: Dr. Arwady gives Chicago monkeypox update

Confirmed case trends in the U.S. have been steadily increasing over time. Just two months ago, only 33 cases had been confirmed domestically, CDC data shows.

The news comes as the City of Chicago provided an update on the number of local cases, just as the North Side prepares to host "Market Days".

On the heels of monkeypox being declared a national public health emergency, Chicago's public Health commissioner shares plans to get information and vaccine to Black and Brown communities.

"I am pleased to see this at the federal level. The number one thing that's needed, in my mind, is doses of vaccine," Dr Allison Arwady. "I'm hopeful we will be able to see more emergency action."

Cook County commissioner calls for hearing addressing monkeypox outbreak

The city reports 459 monkey pox cases. All but one were men, one was a transgender person, and most identified themselves as gay.

Health officials acknowledge the demand for vaccine outweighs supply currently, so the emphasis is on testing and prevention.

RELATED: Monkeypox cases near 300 in Chicago as city distributes 15K vaccine doses, CDPH says

"I know right now people in the community are frustrated they have to leave messages and wait for people to call them back but I need people to understand we are trying," said Maurice Brownlee, with Wellness Home.

Earlier this week, the State of Illinois declared the virus a public health emergency.

Howard Brown medical director talks about how they are working to slow the spread of monkeypox

Declaring the state a "disaster area" allows the Illinois Dept. of Public Health to better coordinate with other state agencies and the federal government on vaccine distribution and disease prevention.

"This declaration allows us to do many things but important things, like making sure that we have additional support that it needs to really help prioritize and get vaccines out," said Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra.

RELATED: Monkeypox and children: What to know about testing, symptoms, treatments and more"

With North Halsted Market Day approaching this weekend, which draws over 100,000 of all sexual identities and orientations, organizers are sharing information with North Halsted businesses and visitors about the early symptoms.

"If you may have a symptom that may be monkeypox, it's better to remove yourself. We don't want to see this expand and grow in our community," said Mark Liberson, with the Northalsted Business Alliance.

The CDC has released safety guidelines for people with monkeypox, urging those infected with the virus to "remain isolated at home or at another location for the duration of illness."