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Mpox Outbreak

About the Mpox Outbreak

Cases of Mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) are on the rise in Cook County. Those at-risk for Mpox exposure are urged to take precautions and get vaccinated (if not already), during summer festival and Pride season. For the latest suburban Cook County Mpox data, click on the data tab below.

CCDPH is closely monitoring the situation and raising public awareness on CCDPH web and social media sites about the recent uptick in cases in our area, with messaging about signs and symptoms, prevention (e.g., getting vaccinated, safer sex, avoiding social gatherings), testing, isolation, home care, and treatment.

The risk to general public is currently low. Most of the current and previous Mpox cases in the U.S. are occurring in social networks of men who have sex with men and individuals with multiple or anonymous sex partners. However, it is not limited to these individuals.

CCDPH’s communicable disease program investigates potential cases of Mpox and close contacts, and provides technical assistance to medical providers so that people get the treatment they need. CCDPH currently has a large supply of vaccine and redistributes vaccine and treatment to medical providers in suburban Cook County. CCDPH also collaborates with other local certified health departments to ensure residents have access to vaccine and treatment.

With additional cases reported in the City of Chicago, we expect it’s only a matter of time before we see an uptick in Mpox cases in suburban Cook County.

If you are concerned about Mpox:

  1. Get vaccinated with the Jynneos Mpox vaccine.
  2. Vaccination is an important tool in preventing the spread of Mpox. Vaccine may not be 100% effective in preventing disease, but like covid-19 vaccine, may prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
    • Get vaccinated NOW if you are at increased risk. CDC recommends vaccination against Mpox if:
      • You had known or suspected exposure to someone with mpox
      • You had a sex partner in the past 2 weeks who was diagnosed with mpox
      • You are a gay, bisexual, or other man who has sex with men or a transgender, nonbinary, or gender-diverse person who in the past 6 months has had any of the following:
        • A new diagnosis of one or more sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis)
        • More than one sex partner
        • You have had any of the following in the past 6 months:
          • Sex at a commercial sex venue (like a sex club or bathhouse)
          • Sex related to a large commercial event or in a geographic area (city or county for example) where mpox virus transmission is occurring
          • Sex in exchange for money or other items
        • You have a sex partner with any of the above risks
        • You anticipate experiencing any of the above scenarios
        • You have HIV or other causes of immune suppression and have had recent or anticipate future risk of mpox exposure from any of the above scenarios
        • You work in settings where you may be exposed to mpox:
          • You work with orthopoxviruses in a laboratory
        • If you’ve been exposed to Mpox, vaccination can still help. After exposure, vaccination may prevent illness if given within 2 weeks of exposure, with the vaccine being most effective within 4 days of exposure.
        • A second dose is needed four weeks after the first dose for best protection.
        • People who are vaccinated should continue to avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with someone who has Mpox.
  1. Contact your healthcare provider about Mpox vaccination, testing, and treatment or visit the Cook County Health Mpox webpage. Another resource for finding vaccine providers is CDC’s Mpox vaccine locator tool. For Mpox treatment, visit the Cook County Health Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center website
  2. Consider altering your behavior temporarily while there is an uptick in cases:
    • Exchange contact information with any new partner so you can follow up with each other, if needed.
    • Talk with your partner about any Mpox symptoms and be aware of any new or unexplained rash or lesions on either of your bodies, including the mouth, genitals (penis, testicles, vulva, or vagina), or anus (butthole).
    • If you or your partner recently had Mpox symptoms or a new or unexplained rash anywhere on your body, do not have sex, cover the rash with clothing and see a healthcare provider.

Key Events

  • On May 13, 2023 Cook County Department of Public Health began seeing an uptick in suburban Cook County Mpox cases. There were 5 Mpox cases in suburban Cook County in May 2023. Click on the data tab below to view suburban Cook County data. 
  • On April 17, 2023, Chicago Department of Public Health reported a recent increase in Mpox cases among Chicago residents. 
  • In August 2022, U.S. cases of Mpox peaked and then decreased substantially.
  • On Aug. 4, 2022, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra declared mpox a Public Health Emergency (PHE) to further strengthen and accelerate the federal response to the continued rapid transmission of mpox in the U.S. and globally.
  • On Aug. 1, 2022, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker declared mpox a public health emergency in the state of Illinois, to rapidly mobilize all available public health resources to prevent and treat mpox and ensure smooth coordination at all levels of government.
  • On July 23, 2022, the World Health Organization declared mpox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
  • In mid-May 2022, the CDC, state and local health departments began closely tracking an outbreak of Mpox, that spread across several countries, including the United States.

Total Cases

Hospitalizations

Deaths

Residents Vaccinated

What is Mpox?

Mpox is a contagious disease caused by the mpox virus.

Mpox is not as contagious as COVID-19 or the flu. The risk of spread is highest during oral sex, anal sex, vaginal sex, and other intimate contact such as hugging, kissing, cuddling and massage.

It is most often spread through:

  • Direct, prolonged contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus
  • Coming in contact with clothing, bedding or other items used by the person with the virus
  • Respiratory droplets passed through prolonged face-to-face contact over several hours

For more information, visit the CDC Mpox page

Mpox in Suburban Cook County

Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) is tracking mpox cases and contacts in suburban Cook County. The risk to the general public is currently low. The graphs below contain information about confirmed mpox cases in suburban Cook County by age, race, sex, ethnicity and sexual orientation. Data are updated every Monday.

Date Last Updated: September 18, 2023

Data are provisional and subject to change.

Cases by Age Group

Age GroupCount(%)
0-170(0%)
18-2414(9.7%)
25-3449(33.8%)
35-4449(33.8%)
45-5426(17.9%)
55-647(4.8%)
65+0(0%)
Total145(100%)

Cases by Sex

SexCount(%)
Male138(95.2%)
Female7(4.8%)
Total145(100%)

Cases by Race/Ethnicity

Race/EthnicityCount(%)
Hispanic/Latinx51(35.2%)
Black, not Hispanic/Latinx50(34.5%)
White, not Hispanic/Latinx34(23.4%)
Other, not Hispanic/Latinx5(3.4%)
Asian, not Hispanic/Latinx4(2.8%)
Unknown1(0.7%)
Total145(100%)

Cases by Sexual Orientation

Sexual OrientationCount(%)
Lesbian or Gay53(36.6%)
Unknown40(27.6%)
Bisexual27(18.6%)
Straight, Not Gay or Lesbian22(15.2%)
Other3(2.1%)
Total145(100%)

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ fact sheets and social media graphics can be downloaded in English and Spanish by clicking on the Communications Materials tab.

What is mpox?

Mpox is a rare disease caused by infection with the mpox virus. Mpox virus is part of the same family of viruses as variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and mpox is rarely fatal. Mpox is not related to chickenpox.

Is mpox deadly?

Infections with the type of mpox virus identified in this outbreak—the West African type—are rarely fatal. Over 99% of people who get this form of the disease are likely to survive. However, people with weakened immune systems, children under 8 years of age, people with a history of eczema, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be more likely to get seriously ill or die.

Although the West African type is rarely fatal, symptoms can be extremely painful, and people might have permanent scarring resulting from the rash.

What does mpox look like?

Below are some examples of what mpox looks like. For more information please visit the CDC website 

Am I at risk for mpox?

Anyone can get mpox. As of 8/18/2022, vaccine eligibility criteria for mpox vaccination will include anyone (including students enrolled in universities/colleges), who meets EITHER of the following criteria AND has not previously been infected with mpox:

  • Anyone who had close contact (e.g., household members with close physical contact or intimate partners) with someone diagnosed with mpox regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation.
  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and transgender persons who are sexually active.

If this sounds like you, or you have symptoms of mpox, contact a healthcare provider. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call Cook County Health at 312-864-0200 or the HIV Resource Hub at 844-482-4040. CDC recommends vaccination within 4 days from the date of exposure for the best chance to avoid getting mpox.

What are the symptoms of mpox?
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Rash on face, body or genitals

Please note: Some individuals may only get a rash and no other symptoms.

What should I do if I have mpox symptoms?

If you have fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, fatigue, enlarged lymph nodes, rash or sores on face, body or genitals:

  • Stay home and away from other people (isolate).
  • Schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call Cook County Health at 312-864-0200 or the HIV Resource Hub at 844-482-4040.
  • Wear a mask and cover rash (if present) when you go to the appointment.
  • If you have a rash or sore available for testing, the healthcare provider will call the health department for next steps. The healthcare provider will take a sample from the rash or sore to send to a lab.
  • Wear a mask and keep rash covered while in public and continue to isolate while waiting for test results.
How is mpox spread?

Mpox can spread in various ways. Mpox can spread person-to-person through:

  • Direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs or body fluids
  • Respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact or during intimate physical contact such as kissing, cuddling or sex
  • Handling personal items like bedding, towels, laundry, utensils, fetish gear and sex toys
Can you get mpox through casual contact?

No. mpox is spread by direct contact with:

  • Infectious rash, scabs or body fluids
  • Respiratory secretions shared during prolonged face-to-face and physical contact (kissing, cuddling or sex)
  • Personal items like bedding, towels, laundry, utensils, fetish gear and sex toys.
Will mpox vaccination prevent mpox?
  • If vaccination is given 4–14 days after the date of exposure, it may reduce symptoms, but may not prevent mpox infection.
  • CDC recommends vaccination within 4 days from the date of exposure to avoid getting mpox.
  • The sooner an exposed person gets the vaccine, the better.
Does the mpox vaccine have side effects?

Side effects are common and usually mild. Most people have redness, swelling and pain where they got the shot. You may feel tired, have a headache and muscle pain.

What do I need to know about mpox treatment?
  • Most people recover from mpox without needing treatment.
  • There is an antiviral drug called Tecovirimat (TPOXX) that can be given to people who are more likely to get severely ill, like patients with weakened immune systems, genital or eye lesions, or are pregnant.
  • TPOXX must be prescribed by a physician in coordination with the local health department (CCDPH).
  • For more information, talk to your provider or visit the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/clinicians/Tecovirimat.html
What is the latest guidance for schools and daycare?
Who should get tested for mpox?

People who think they have mpox or have had close personal contact with someone who has mpox should visit a healthcare provider to help them decide if they need to be tested for mpox. If they decide that you should be tested, they will work with you to collect the specimens and send them to a laboratory for testing.

If you don’t have a healthcare provider, call Cook County Health at 312-864-0200 or the HIV Resource Hub at 844-482-4040.

Where can I go for mpox vaccination?

Cook County Health is offering mpox vaccination at several health centers, including suburban Cook County locations in Arlington Heights, Blue Island and North Riverside. Learn More.

Click on the “Get Care” tab above for a list of CCH and CCDPH vaccination partners.

How can I get vaccinated for mpox?

In suburban Cook County, we are distributing vaccine to healthcare providers who reach eligible populations. Please be patient. There is currently not enough vaccine for all those who qualify to receive a dose, but this is expected to improve as more vaccine becomes available.

If you meet the eligibility criteria under "Should I get vaccinated for mpox?" you can:

  • Contact your healthcare provider. (Note: If the provider is not familiar with mpox, encourage them to visit our website for more information.) OR
  • Click the "Get Care" tab to see the list of healthcare providers who are offering JYNNEOS™ vaccination in suburban Cook County. (Note: Supplies are limited. Appointments may be required.).
  • If you are a Chicago resident, please click here for more information.

Communications Materials

Click below to download social media graphics, FAQs, palm cards and more.

Mpox Communications Materials - in English
Image Content Categories Date Link hf:doc_categories
Mpox and Safer Sex 3 -Social Media Graphic

Mpox and Safer Sex 3 (JPG): Mpox and Safer Sex Social Media Graphic

, May 22, 2023 mpox mpox-english
Mpox and Safer Sex 2 -Social Media Graphic

Mpox and Safer Sex 2 (JPG): Mpox and Safer Sex Social Media Graphic

, May 22, 2023 mpox mpox-english
Mpox and Safer Sex 1 -Social Media Graphic

Mpox and Safer Sex 1 (JPG): Mox and Safer Sex Social Media Graphic

, May 22, 2023 mpox mpox-english
Mpox & Safer Sex Facts

Mpox & Safer Sex Fact Sheet  (PDF): Mpox & Safer Sex Facts

, May 22, 2023 mpox mpox-english
Who is eligible for mpox vaccine? Social Media Graphic

Who is eligible for mpox vaccine? (JPG): Who is eligible for mpox vaccine? Social Media Graphic

, May 22, 2023 mpox mpox-english
Mpox Communications Materials - in Spanish
Image Content Categories Date Link hf:doc_categories
Mpox Eligibility - Social Media Spanish (Square)

Mpox Social Media Graphic – Spanish (JPG): Mpox Eligibility Social Media Graphic – Spanish (Square)

, May 22, 2023 mpox mpox-spanish
Mpox & Safer Sex Fact Sheet - Spanish

Mpox Fact Sheet – Spanish (PDF): Mpox & Safer Sex Fact Sheet – Spanish

, May 22, 2023 mpox mpox-spanish

Partners

The mpox outbreak is escalating rapidly, and healthcare providers and schools are asked to establish plans for their organizations. Below are links to information for each of these partner groups.

Information for Healthcare Providers

Information for Schools

Updated September 18, 2023, 10:24 AM