West Central IL Health Departments Keeping Close Eye on Monkeypox Cases

By Benjamin Cox on August 8, 2022 at 12:16pm

Photo Courtesy of the World Health Organization

The Biden Administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency on Thursday. More than 6,500 cases have been reported across the country.

Governor J.B. Pritzker declared monkeypox to be a statewide public health emergency last Monday, classifying Illinois as a “disaster area” in regards to the disease. Illinois currently has the 4th highest number of cases in the nation.

Morgan, Scott, Greene, Cass, and many other West Central Illinois have yet to announce a confirmed or probable case yet.

Morgan County Health Department Administrator Dale Bainter says that the virus is being closely watched: “Internally and in our office we are watching closely to see what’s going on, and testing when we have possible cases. It’s a different animal than Covid. The way it is spread is different. It tends to be more of a close contact from active lesions. We don’t consider it to be the same as Covid, but with anything like this that’s a communicable disease, we are going watching for it and testing. We hope to not to see that level of spread. I think we are well over 6,000 cases across the nation. Illinois has quite a few of those. I think we are in the top 3 – most of it being in our larger municipal areas. We are watching for it locally and hope to not see the level of spread anything like we have seen with Covid or anything else like that. It should not see those levels just due to its nature of how it spreads.”

Both state and federal declarations open up access to emergency funds, allow health agencies to collect more data about potential cases and vaccinations, accelerate vaccine distribution, and make it easier for doctors to prescribe treatment.

According to NBC Chicago on Friday, Illinois had reported 571 monkeypox cases with 460 of those cases in Chicago. As of Thursday, Sangamon County had reported only 1 probable case of the disease.