Monkeypox is spreading in Chicago. Will it be the next widespread pandemic? No, we certainly hope not, but you should be aware of the virus as illness continues to spread. Dr. Khare, founder and CEO of Innovative Care, summarizes what we know about monkeypox currently, and how we are handling monkeypox evaluation and testing.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious illness that typically begins with flu-like symptoms and progresses to a rash. The monkeypox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae. This family of viruses also includes smallpox. The first known human case of monkeypox was in 1970.
How is monkeypox spread?
Monkeypox can spread when someone comes in contact with an infected animal, person or material. The virus can also cross the placenta from a mother to a fetus. The most common transmission is through direct contact with body fluids or sores on an infected person. Intimate contact such as during sex, kissing, cuddling, or touching parts of the body with monkeypox sores may also spread the virus.
Is there a treatment for Monkeypox?
There is no specific treatment for monkeypox at this time. Scientists are exploring whether the use of smallpox antivirals may be beneficial to individuals who contract monkeypox. Many individuals with monkeypox have mild disease, during which they are advised to avoid direct contact with others.
What should I do if I have been exposed to monkeypox?
Monkeypox cases are climbing in Chicago. If you have a known exposure to monkeypox, you should monitor for monkeypox symptoms for a period of 21 days. Symptoms to watch for include:
- Fever greater than 100.4F. The CDC recommends taking your temperature twice daily during the 21 day period.
- New skin rash
- Swollen lymph nodes
What if I develop monkeypox symptoms?
If you develop symptoms, you should self-isolate and contact a health professional for further guidance. Innovative Care is seeing monkeypox patients at our Chicago urgent care location at 2400 N. Ashland Avenue in Lincoln park. Telemedicine consults are available daily and are recommended for the first evaluation. Appointments can be made online.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Per the CDC, monkeypox illness begins with the following:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
Approximately 1 to 3 days after the onset of fever, the patient develops a rash. This rash commonly begins on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body. Lesions then progress through various stages before they fall off. Monkeypox illness typically lasts for 2−4 weeks.
Will Innovative Care see patients with monkeypox?
Yes. Innovative Care is seeing patients for monkeypox evaluation and testing at our urgent care located at 2400 N. Ashland Avenue in Lincoln Park. We are working with the Chicago Health Department to send samples for testing if needed. We will have our own testing soon, but at this time, the only testing available is at the state level and then another round of testing at the CDC.