With summertime rapidly approaching, the Chicago Department of Public Health is asking Chicagoans to take extra safety precautions while the department continues to investigate the monkeypox virus.
The potentially serious viral infection has been spreading with 1,450 cases reported globally and 49 cases across the United States and the District of Columbia. In Chicago, seven confirmed cases had been identified as of Sunday, according to the health department.
“While the risk in Chicago remains low, CDPH wants the public to be able to make informed choices about gathering in spaces or participating in events where monkeypox could be spread through close or intimate contact,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the city’s health department, in a statement.
Some of the current cases involve people who recently traveled to Europe. One Chicago resident reported attending the International Mr. Leather conference in Chicago from May 26 to May 30, the health department said. Residents from another state who were diagnosed with monkeypox also reported attending the conference.
This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin. (AP)
The Illinois Department of Public Health and other public health departments across the nation have been in contact with the city health department about the ongoing investigation.
Since the monkeypox virus can be spread through close or intimate contact, the health department is asking that Chicagoans take proper precautions in public spaces. Monkeypox can also be spread if a person comes in contact with the lesions, bodily fluids or respiratory secretions of an infected person or any objects such as linens, bandages and dishes that an infected person used.
In addition, the city health department has been working with organizers of summer events to help share information. Such efforts include printed palm cards for organizers to hand out at events with a link to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page that provides health tips for gay and bisexual men and a scannable smartphone code to access more information.
Ahead of concerts, festivals, and other summer events, the city health department recommends people avoid gatherings if they feel sick or notice any rashes or sores and consider the likelihood of skin-to-skin contact occurring with others.
source: Chicago Tribune