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Gov. Pritzker declares monkeypox a public health emergency

Pritzker says that Illinois currently has about 520 cases of monkeypox and that officials want to coordinate quickly to stop the virus.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois Governor J.B Pritzker has issued a proclamation declaring the spreading monkeypox virus a public health emergency.

On Monday, August 1, Governor Pritzker issued the disaster declaration calling state attention to the recent spread of the monkeypox virus, which has made its way to Illinois in significant numbers.

According to Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois has seen 520 confirmed or possible cases of monkeypox within its borders; the third most in the country.

Additionally, the virus disproportionally affected the LGBTQ+ community, especially gay men, in its initial spread, and officials say that the State of Illinois will ensure the community has resources and protection from stigma as its members access needed health care.

The disaster declaration allows the State to expand resources and coordination efforts between state agencies and allow the government to make necessary moves and decisions to quickly combat the virus.

IDPH and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency will be expanding vaccine and testing capacity via state and federal recovery and assistance funds. Illinois has received over 7,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine from the federal government and is anticipating a shipment of 13,000 more in the near future.

"MPV is a rare, but potentially serious disease that requires the full mobilization of all available public health resources to prevent the spread,” said Pritzker. “That’s why I am declaring a state of emergency to ensure smooth coordination between state agencies and all levels of government, thereby increasing our ability to prevent and treat the disease quickly. We have seen this virus disproportionately impact the LGBTQ+ community in its initial spread. Here in Illinois, we will ensure our LGBTQ+ community has the resources they need to stay safe while ensuring members are not stigmatized as they access critical health care.” 

If you develop a rash illness and are concerned that it may be monkeypox, you are encouraged to avoid close physical contact with other people until you are evaluated by a health care provider.

More information about monkeypox can be found on the CDC's website.

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