Chicago officials urge monkeypox precautions at summer gatherings
The Chicago Department of Public Health is encouraging residents to take precautions when gathering with others this summer as a handful of monkeypox cases have been confirmed in the city.
The department said in a release Monday that officials have been working with the organizers of large summer events to provide information about how to stay safe. Officials are recommending that if someone feels sick or has a rash or sores, they should not attend a gathering and see a health care provider as soon as possible.
Anyone attending a festival or other large summer event should consider how much close, skin-to-skin contact might occur, the release states.
“While the risk in Chicago remains low, CDPH wants the public to be able to make informed choices about gathering in spaces or participating in events where monkeypox could be spread through close or intimate contact,” Chicago public health department Commissioner Allison Arwady said in the release.
The city has identified seven cases as of Sunday and is working with the Illinois Department of Public Health and other local health departments to find other potential cases. There have been 49 confirmed cases in the United States across 16 states and Washington, D.C. Most affected individuals have reported mild symptoms, and no one has died, according to the release.
The department created a template letter with advice for staying safe. Event organizers can print it on their letterhead and “palm cards” to pass out at their events with a scannable smartphone code to access more information.
The department of public health has been working to support clinical partners to identify infections, contact trace and monitor individuals’ symptoms. Affected individuals might have flu-like symptoms early on in the illness and then develop lesions on one part of the body that spread to other parts.