Mpox, formerly Monkeypox, cases on rise in Chicago; vaccines recommended, health experts say

Karen Jordan Image
Tuesday, May 9, 2023
Mpox cases on rise in Chicago; vaccines recommended: health experts
Health experts are suggesting Chicago residents get the monkeypox vaccine as cases of Mpox are on the rise in the city.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Howard Brown Health has issued a warning that cases of Mpox, formerly called monkeypox, are on the rise in Chicago.

The LGBTQ-focused clinic has diagnosed eight cases of Mpox since mid-April. All of the patients have been gay or bisexual men.

"Previously, before this point, for about the last 12 weeks, there had actually been no new reported cases in Chicago," said Wren O'Kelley, with Howard Brown Health.

The World Health Organization is changing the name from monkeypox to Mpox to minimize racist and stigmatized language.

The virus is spread through skin-to-skin contact.

Public health officials are concerned about a surge in the virus this summer, following major events in Chicago's LGBTQ-plus community.

But, they said Mpox can impact any community.

SEE ALSO: WHO renames monkeypox as 'mpox,' citing stigma and discrimination concerns

Dr. Allison Arwady talked about it Tuesday during her weekly Facebook live update.

Howard Brown said from the moment they announced the rise in cases Friday, there has been a significant increase in people wanting to get screened and vaccinated.

"We're just trying to drive awareness and for people to have an eye out and take preventative steps that they might not think apply to them," O'Kelley said.

Most of the new cases affected patients who were vaccinated and were mild.

But health officials are urging those at-risk to get the vaccine.

Those interested can to go any of the Howard Brown locations or those on the Chicago Department of Health's website.