The state health department announced Thursday the first presumptive case of monkeypox was identified in Illinois in a resident who recently traveled internationally.
Initial testing was completed Wednesday at an IDPH laboratory and confirmatory testing for monkeypox is pending at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) said the adult male Chicago resident had recent travel history to Europe.
Based on initial epidemiologic characteristics and the positive orthopoxvirus result at IDPH, health officials consider the case a “probable” monkeypox infection.
The IDPH said they are working closely with the CDC and the patient’s health care providers to identify individuals with whom the patient may have been in contact while they were infectious.
Officials say contact tracing is appropriate given the nature and transmission of the virus.
The patient has not required hospitalization and is isolating at home in good condition.
IDPH said the case remains isolated and there is no indication there is a great risk of extensive local spread of the virus. Monkeypox does not spread as easily as the COVID-19 virus, officials said.
Person-to-person transmission is possible through close physical contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, items that have been contaminated with fluids or sores, such as clothing and bedding, and through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact.
Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness, which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus family, and typically begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes, IDPH said.
It progresses to a rash on the face and body. Most infections last 2-4 weeks.
Monkeypox is typically endemic to parts of central and west Africa and people can be exposed through bites or scratches from rodents and small mammals, preparing wild game, or having contact with an infected animal or possibly animal products.
Multiple cases of monkeypox began being reported earlier this year in several countries that do not normally report monkeypox, including the United States.
The CDC reports 19 confirmed cases of monkeypox across multiple states including California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.