IL Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a proclamation declaring the monkeypox virus a public health emergency and declaring the state of Illinois a disaster area regarding the disease. Illinois currently has reported 419 confirmed cases, according to the CDC. The declaration, which applies to the entire state, allows the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to utilize resources for coordinating logistics across state agencies to quickly and efficiently distribute vaccines and work to prevent and treat the disease. The proclamation will also help state agencies coordinate their responses with the federal government.

“MPV is a rare, but potentially serious disease that requires the full mobilization of all available public health resources to prevent the spread,” said Governor Pritzker. “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.”

Declaring a state of disaster expands the resources and coordination efforts of state agencies in responding to, treating, and preventing the spread of monkeypox. It also allows IDPH to expand vaccine and testing capacities with the help of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and through state and federal recovery and assistance funds. The proclamation will aid in enabling the coordination and transportation of vaccines across the state to reach the most impacted communities. The declaration also authorizes emergency procurements to facilitate the state’s response. The proclamation takes effect immediately and is in place for 30 days.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on July 23, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been closely monitoring and consulting with states to address the outbreak across the U.S. The state has received more than 7,000 doses of vaccine from the federal government, with 13,000 additional doses expected to be delivered soon. Governor Pritzker asked the Department of Health and Human Services to increase Illinois’ vaccine allotment last month in a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.

“A comprehensive and swift response is key when containing a disease outbreak,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “These measures will allow the state to deploy all our resources in fighting this disease and will open efficient lines of communication and cooperation across state lines, an essential step in tracking monkeypox and improving tools and processes to prevent and address it.”

There are many causes of rash illnesses. If someone has a rash illness that they are concerned about, they should contact a health care provider about their symptoms. They should not have close contact with other individuals until they have consulted a health provider if monkeypox is suspected. People should avoid close, skin to skin contact with people who have a rash that might be monkeypox.

More information is available on monkeypox is available here.