According to a press release from the Whiteside County Health Department, the Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) has announced the first case of monkeypox in a resident of Winnebago County. This is the first case in Public Health Region One of the state. The case is consistent with other monkeypox cases seen in the State of Illinois to date. The individual is isolated at home, recovering, and remains in contact with the WCHD and their healthcare provider. The potential contacts of this case have been notified and the risk to Winnebago County residents remains low.

Monkeypox does not spread easily between people. The majority of cases seen throughout Illinois and the United States have been spread through direct intimate contact with a rash or sore on someone infected with monkeypox. Activities that can spread monkeypox include kissing, sex or other activities with skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the virus. It can also spread through clothing, bedding/linens or other materials used by a person infected with monkeypox, or through respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact.

Monkeypox can be spread from when symptoms first start until all sores have healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take several weeks. While most cases of monkeypox are self-limited and last two to four weeks, severe cases can occur.

There are simple steps to avoid contracting monkeypox:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone with monkeypox.
  • Don’t share bedding, clothing, towels or personal items with someone with monkeypox.
  • Do not have sex if you or you sex partner(s) feel sick or have a rash or sores and do not kiss or touch each other’s bodies while you are sick. 
  • Call your healthcare provider if you have new or unexplained rash, sores, or other monkeypox symptoms. 

For more information on monkeypox, click here.