Monkeypox FAQ and Resources

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Currently, the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) continue to monitor the Monkeypox Virus (MPV) outbreak and respond to the needs of the community. As of Summer 2022, the CDC is tracking an outbreak of monkeypox that has spread across several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including the United States. With the current outbreak, monkeypox has become a public health concern everyone should be aware of and take steps to avoid spreading. According to the Cook County Department of Public Health, "We have been actively engaged in a number of strategies to reduce the spread of MPV, including:

  • Facilitating testing and conducting contact tracing for cases
  • Ensuring contacts and high-risk individuals have access to vaccination
  • Connecting high-risk cases to treatment
  • Public communication and community outreach

Anyone can get monkeypox, so it's important to stay up-to-date on the latest information about the Monkeypox virus so you can help protect yourself and others. Below is additional information from CCDPH and IDPH and additional resources and FAQs to help keep you informed.

According to CCDPH, "MPV is not as contagious as COVID-19 or the flu. The risk of spread is highest during oral sex, anal sex, vaginal sex, and other intimate contact such as hugging, kissing, cuddling and massage.

It is most often spread through:

  • Direct, prolonged contact with a rash or sores of someone who has the virus
  • Coming in contact with clothing, bedding or other items used by the person with the virus
  • Respiratory droplets passed through prolonged face-to-face contact over several hours

About the 2022 MPV Outbreak

Since mid-May, the CDC, state and local health departments have been closely tracking an outbreak of monkeypox (MPV) that has spread across several countries that don’t normally report the disease, including the United States.

Most of the current MPV cases in the U.S. are occurring in social networks of men who have sex with men and individuals with multiple or anonymous sex partners. However, it is not limited to these individuals.

Key Events

  • On July 23, 2022, the World Health Organization declared MPV a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
  • On Aug. 1, 2022, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker declared MPV a public health emergency in the state of Illinois, to rapidly mobilize all available public health resources to prevent and treat MPV and ensure smooth coordination at all levels of government.
  • On Aug. 4, 2022, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra declared MPV a Public Health Emergency (PHE) to further strengthen and accelerate the federal response to the continued rapid transmission of monkeypox in the U.S. and globally."

Additional Resources & Information

Last Updated: 9/15/22