Monkeypox Declared Public Health Emergency in Illinois by Governor

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

Illinois Governor declares public health emergency following over 500 cases of monkeypox being reported in the state
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker declares state of emergency due to MonkeypoxWikipedia

On Monday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker declared the monkeypox outbreak in Illinois a public health emergency referring to Illinois as a "disaster area" in regards to the virus.

“The Monkeypox Virus is a rare, but potentially serious disease that requires the full mobilization of all available public health resources to prevent the spread,” said Pritzker. “I am declaring a state of emergency to expand the resources and coordination efforts of state agencies in responding to, treating, and preventing the spread of MPV."

Of over 5000 cases reported in the U.S.,10 percent or 520, have been found in Illinois according to the CDC. Illinois ranks third in number of cases, behind California and New York. Both states also declared states of emergency on Monday.

Governor Pritzker's declaration applies across the state. It will enable the Illinois Department of Public Health to coordinate efforts to distribute the vaccine and engage in treatment and prevention. The declaration would also help Illinois coordinate with the federal government's response should the President declare a national state of emergency. As of now President Biden has stopped short of this, but has appointed two top federal officials to coordinate a response to the outbreak.

Monkeypox is a relatively rare disease caused by a virus that is a member of same family as variola virus which causes smallpox. The symptoms of the disease are similar to smallpox but milder and few people die from monkeypox. Before the 2022 outbreak, most cases were seen in central and western African countries. Since January 1, 2022, more than 50 countries, most where monkeypox had not previously been seen, have reported cases of the disease, including, France, Germany, Australia, Canada and the U.S. The first case of monkey pox in humans was reported in 1970.

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