Southern Ill. health department monitoring for monkeypox cases

The Jackson County Health Department is monitoring cases of monkeypox in the state.
Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 3:52 PM CDT
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MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (KFVS) - With nearly 700 cases, Illinois is one of the hardest-hit states by the ongoing monkeypox outbreak.

Most of those cases are in the Chicago area, but health officials in the Heartland are keeping a close eye on the spread.

The Jackson County Health department division director believes it’s only a matter of time before the first monkeypox case arrives in Jackson County.

Illinois has the third highest case total in the country, behind California and New York. As monkeypox cases continue to climb, the Jackson County Health Department hopes there’s enough vaccine to go around.

“We have people calling every day and we’ve got wait list of people who are wanting the vaccine and, like I said, even when we do get it,” Paula Clark, division director for the Jackson County Health Department, said.

As of Monday afternoon, the Jackson County Health Department has not received any vaccines.

“In the very beginning stages, we’re really going to be prioritizing those who are at the highest risk,” Clark explained.

According to Clark, across the state, 28,500 doses were administered. More than 21,000 in Chicago and around 7,500 for the rest of the state.

Clark said you should look for flu-like symptoms.

“Body aches, a rash, fever, another one that is swollen lymph nodes,” she said.

Clark said this is not a sexually transmitted disease.

“Although it is a disease that is real easy to get when you’re having sex because that is really close skin-to-skin contact,” she explained.

She said there is a 21-day incubation period for monkeypox.

“So that means by the time you get sick, you’ve got to know what you’re doing, what you were doing three weeks ago to contact any partners or to contact anybody you had really close contact with,” Clark said.

The closest monkeypox case to southern Illinois, according to Clark, is a daycare teacher in Champaign County.

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