First monkeypox case is reported in Cook County Jail

The individual was reportedly immediately isolated and contact tracing is underway


By Adriana Pérez
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — The Cook County Jail on Tuesday reported its first case of monkeypox, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health.

The individual was reportedly immediately isolated and contact tracing is underway, the health department said. County health officials will visit the jail Tuesday to offer testing and vaccinations to eligible individuals as the department continues its vaccination efforts in the city.

Division 11 in the Cook County Jail in Chicago on May 20, 2020. The jail reported its first case of monkeypox, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health. (Photo by Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS)
Division 11 in the Cook County Jail in Chicago on May 20, 2020. The jail reported its first case of monkeypox, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health. (Photo by Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

“It is important to remember that the population in the jail is a microcosm of the community,” the statement read. “As such, it is reasonable to expect cases to appear within the jail. The individual is believed to have contracted the virus in the community prior to being ordered into custody at the jail.”

Meanwhile, over the weekend, the Chicago Public Health Department received an allotment of more than 15,000 monkeypox vaccine doses from the federal government. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has called on federal health officials to ramp up vaccination efforts.

Chicago has already distributed over 5,000 doses of the vaccine against the virus that is spreading through the city. As of Tuesday, there were just under 300 cases of the virus in Chicago. And as of Monday, Illinois had recorded 344 cases statewide.

“Even with those 15,000 additional doses, it certainly doesn’t meet the demand of all the population in Chicago that may be eligible, all those who are at risk of exposure,” said Massimo Pacilli, the Chicago Public Health Department’s deputy commissioner of disease control, at a webinar Tuesday morning. “We’re aiming to do the best that 15,000 doses can do and that means to deploy them as first doses so that we can reach as many individuals who can benefit from the vaccine as possible.”

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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