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HomeCoronavirusRockford health officials say they're ready to address monkeypox virus

Rockford health officials say they’re ready to address monkeypox virus

The Winnebago County Health Department issued a statement saying, “The Winnebago County Health Department is poised to face the latest public health challenge,” a day after Governor Pritzker declared an emergency in response to the outbreak of the monkeypox virus.

In a statement issued Tuesday to the Register Star, the county health department said:

“While there have been no reported cases of the monkeypox virus in Winnebago County, the Winnebago County Health Department has been working with the Illinois Department of Public Health to conduct surveillance/monitoring activities; prepare for case investigation and associated contact tracing, and plan for vaccination of at-risk individuals and populations.”

According to the county health department, vaccinations have so far been given by the Illinois Department of Public Health to counties with confirmed monkeypox cases in order to vaccinate high-risk contacts.

The virus has mainly been restricted to Chicago, Cook County, and the collar counties of Illinois.

“Monkeypox virus is a rare, but potentially serious disease that requires the full mobilization of all available public health resources to prevent the spread,” Pritzker said in a news release announcing the emergency declaration proclamation.

 “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.”

Mehl stressed monkeypox is a virus that does not discriminate.

“This outbreak has disproportionately affected men who identify as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men,” she said. “However, it is important for the public to know that the monkeypox virus can be spread regardless of sexual orientation and that the monkeypox virus is not a sexually transmitted infection.”



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