The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced July 27 that 326 Chicagoans have tested positive for the monkeypox virus (MPV) as the department and city continue outreach efforts in response to the outbreak.
The most common symptoms of MPV are a rash or sores that look like pimples or blisters that can appear anywhere on the body. Some people also have flu-like symptoms including fever, chills, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes. MPV is primarily spread from person to person through direct contact with a rash or sore or through respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact. Currently, it is most often spread during intimate activities, including sex or kissing, though it can spread through bedding or other materials used by a person infected with MPV.
About 4 percent of cases in Chicago have required hospitalization and there have been no known deaths from MPV.
Although monkeypox has primarily impacted men who have sex with men, CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D., emphasized that "MPV is not a 'gay disease.' There's nothing inherent in the biology of the virus that limits it to men who have sex with men. The virus spreads through tight-knit social networks; it does not discriminate."
Arwady noted that most casual contact and day-to-day activities, like shopping in crowded stores, going to a bar or coffee house, riding crowded CTA trains and buses, or using gym equipment or public restrooms, pose little to no risk for contracting MPV.
Testing capacity throughout Chicago has increased now that many commercial labs have begun testing for MPV. There is no screening test available for people without symptoms; the primary test is done by taking a swab of the rash or lesion at a doctor's office or clinic.
The MPV vaccine (JYNNEOS) supply remains very limited, although it is expected to continue to increase over the next few months as the country acquires additional doses.
See www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/cdph/supp_info/health-protection/get-the-facts-monkeypox.html to read the facts about monkeypox.