(The Center Square) – Chicago health officials held a news conference Thursday to update the monkeypox virus and what to look for to stay safe and limit the spread.
Illinois so far has seen 571 confirmed cases of the virus. On Monday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared the spreading virus a statewide public health emergency.
Chicago Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, alongside other health officials, provided the public with information on how the virus is commonly spread.
“We are seeing more spread through person to person, especially sexual and intimate transmission,” Arwady said. “It is a time to be careful. Having multiple or anonymous sex partners right now would be a higher risk in this setting.”
Monkeypox can spread through contact with the virus’ pimplelike rash, most commonly through sex.
“So the No. ! source is transferred through sexual contact,” Dr. Arwady said. “That includes wearing condoms. I want to note that condoms do not completely stop the spread as sores can be located anywhere on your body.”
Illinois and the rest of the country are still trying to return to normal after the COVID-19 pandemic. Monkeypox has not reached COVID-19 numbers in terms of infections, but Dr. Arwady provided an update on the number of cases that have been confirmed in Chicago.
“If you look across the U.S., we have seen 6,600 MPV cases, and in Chicago, we are at 459 total cases,” Arwady said.
The city also revealed a plan of attack for the monkeypox virus.
“M is for the monitor, monitor cases and contact tracing just as we would for any outbreak, P is to provide education to many folks and then V, vaccinate those at highest risk,” Arwady said.
Illinois currently ranks as the third state in terms of most confirmed cases. Arwady urged the public to get tested for the virus and said she hopes to receive even more vaccines in the coming weeks.