CHICAGO (WLS) -- This past week both the state of Illinois and the Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency.
Thousands of cases have been diagnosed across the U.S. Hundreds of those are here in Illinois, which is in the top five states with the most infections. While anyone can be infected with monkeypox, currently men who have sex with men and their sexual networks have been most impacted.
Dr. Cathy Creticos Director of Infectious Diseases with Howard Brown Health, one of the country's largest LGBTQ+ organizations says symptoms include, "Fever, body ache, sometimes swollen glands, lymph nodes we call them. And then at some point, the lesions start to show up, erupt. You can have an initial lesion at the initial point of contact as well." She says this current out break started in Europe, ".. among a group of people who were socially connected. And the transmission started occurring within this particular social network and that was a network of men who have sex with other men.
Our Chicago Part 2:
And then when it came to the United States, it stayed within that social network. So the virus does not have any predilection for transmission through sex or anything like that. But it's really because these are the people that they're associating with and are in physical close contact with."
As for how widespread monkeypox could be in and around Chicago, Massimo Pacilli, Deputy Commissioner for Disease Control at the Chicago Department of Public Health says, "I think there's a lot we can do to contain that spread. First and foremost I'd say that identification.
So, individuals who present with compatible symptoms like described are in a position to seek care and any provider is able to order a monkeypox test and get a diagnosis. That is fundamental to really identify those that are infected so they may self, may be isolated and then for us to do the work of identifying all the contacts to whom we can provide vaccine to prevent onward transmission."
There's a Cook County Health and Hospitals Committee hearing Monday on the response to the monkeypox outbreak.
The virtual hearing, which begins at noon, can be viewed here.
For more information on monkey pox, visit: