US declares monkeypox a public health emergency — what that means for Chicago

The federal government has declared a public health emergency for monkeypox, which will free up federal money and other resources to battle the outbreak.

"The MPV outbreak continues to grow," said Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, during a news conference Thursday.

Chicago's top health officials are voicing their concern, racing to get more vaccines in arms, and urging more testing to slow the spread of monkeypox, also called MPV.

"Call your doctor. Tell them you want a MPV test. There's no shame in that," said Arwady.

Doctor Arwady announced Chicago has about 460 cases and counting, as she stood next to some of the many partners in this fight. Arwady hopes Chicago gets more vaccines and money now that the feds declared a public health emergency.


"I think it's good we want to get all hands-on deck and we want to get this handled as much as we can," she said.

We've seen pictures of the possible rash and sores, but local doctors are pushing for more awareness of symptoms.

"It's largely things like headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and a rash tends to come about one to five days after those symptoms," said Dr. Sharon Welbel, Director of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology at Cook County Health.

There are new messages on social media, as almost all infections in Chicago are in men who have sex with men.

"I've been emphasizing this one for example, turn on the lights before you turn off the lights. This is if you're having sex, spend a little time with your partners, talk about MPV, look for any new or unexplained rash or sores, don't touch those until you see a health care provider," said Arwady.

But for those just going out to eat or for kids heading back to school, there's also emphasis on the low risk for the general population.

"We are not seeing kids at school getting it, riding the bus, going to the grocery store, trying clothes on in a store, we're just not seeing it," said Welbel.

Still, anyone can get monkeypox, so health officials urge every American to take it seriously.