Monkeypox case reported at Cook County Jail

Health officials believe the risk to the general population and staff at the jail is low based on how the disease is transmitted.

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Cook County Jail

Cook County Jail

AP file

A case of monkeypox has been identified at the Cook County Jail, authorities announced Tuesday.

“The individual was immediately isolated and, out of an abundance of caution, the living unit was quarantined and monitored with daily screenings,” according to a statement issued by city and county health officials as well as Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s office, which runs the jail.

Officials took “swift action” to mitigate the potential spread and contact tracing is underway.


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The infected person is believed to have contracted the virus before being ordered into the custody of Cook County Jail.

Health officials believe the risk to the general population at the jail as well as staff is low based on how the disease is transmitted.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had been notified of 344 cases of monkeypox in Illinois as of Monday.

The city on Thursday reported 197 cases — 86% of the state’s total. The Chicago Department of Public Health did not respond to requests for updated case numbers Tuesday.

The CDC reported 3,846 cases nationwide as of Monday and 18,095 monkeypox cases worldwide.

The first cases were detected in the United States in mid-May.

The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency over the weekend.

The disease has mostly been identified among men who have sex with other men.

Symptoms are described as swollen lymph nodes, fever and muscle aches, and a rash that, at first, looks like small bumps.

Symptoms generally resolve in two to four weeks.

Last week, Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the city’s health department, urged anyone who is experiencing symptoms to get tested immediately and to avoid intimate contact or sharing bedding and linens until they do.

Arwady said Chicago’s monkeypox patients are between the ages of 22 and 66. The majority of cases have been on the North Side, where Chicago’s gay population is concentrated.

Chicago has administered 5,400 doses of monkeypox vaccine and was expected to receive another 15,000 doses.

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