* Press release…
Governor Pritzker issued a proclamation today declaring the monkeypox virus a public health emergency and declaring the state of Illinois a disaster area regarding the disease. The declaration, which applies to the entire state, will allow the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to utilize resources for coordinating logistics across state agencies, quickly and efficiently aid in the distribution of vaccines and in the prevention and treatment of the disease. The proclamation will also assist state agencies in coordinating response 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 JB 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. Proclaiming a state of disaster will allow IDPH to expand vaccine and testing capacities with the help of the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and via state and federal recovery and assistance funds. This proclamation will aid in facilitating the complicated logistics and transportation of vaccines across the state to reach the most impacted communities efficiently.
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 declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on July 23, and the Center for Disease Control has been closely monitoring and consulting with states in addressing the outbreak across the United States. Illinois currently has reported 520 cases of confirmed or presumptive monkeypox virus, the third most in the country. The state has received more than 7,000 doses of vaccine from the federal government, with 13,000 additional doses expected in the near future. Governor Pritzker called on 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 illness. However, if someone has a rash illness that they are concerned about they should talk with, or see, a health care provider about their symptoms. They should not have close contact with other individuals until they have seen a health provider if monkeypox is suspected. In general, people should avoid close, skin to skin contact with people who have a rash that might be monkeypox. More information is available at www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox.
* News you can use…
“I want to emphasize that monkey pox is not COVID,” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said. “We’ve all been paying attention to COVID for a number of years now. You’ll hear some more details, but this really does take, based on everything we know now, close and generally intimate contact.”
She added that “most cases where we’re seeing this are coming from much more intimate skin to skin contact or kissing.”
According to Dr. Sharon Welbel, director of hospital epidemiology and infection control at Cook County Health, the virus does not typically spread simply from “bumping up against somebody.”
“The way it typically seems to happen is that there is a lesion and it bursts or its opened up and it gets into a scratch or something one can’t even see but a crack in the skin,” she said. “It is not by bumping up against somebody, being in the same room as somebody, sharing a seat with somebody.”
She noted that it “general takes prolonged contact.”
More info here.
* Once again, the federal government is under fire…
The government agency charged with helping Americans obtain treatment for monkeypox may once again be allowing red tape to stand between doctors and the treatment their patients need.
As the global monkeypox outbreak continues to grow across Europe and the United States, public health authorities have consistently been several steps behind an illness that has infected at least 5,000 Americans in the past three months. Now, with access to the nation’s vaccine supply finally loosened after months of bureaucratic back-and-forth kept hundreds of thousands of doses trapped overseas, epidemiologists, physicians, elected officials and advocates for LGBTQ communities say that red tape is still restricting their ability to actually treat the virus.
Tecovirimat—also known as TPOXX—an antiviral drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration four years ago for the treatment of smallpox, has quickly become one of the most important tools in treating monkeypox infections. The disease, which causes deeply painful blisters in addition to flu-like symptoms, is the same genus as smallpox, which has prompted physicians to prescribe it as an off-label treatment for severe cases.
But TPOXX was only approved to treat smallpox infections under animal studies rather than human trials, which are impossible to conduct, given its global extinction four decades ago. Without human trials for monkeypox, TPOXX’s use must be conducted only by doctors who are part of a hospital’s internal review board, each of whom is required to fill out dozens of pages of paperwork in order to secure TPOXX for their patients. With some cities seeing scores of new cases on a daily basis, doctors are facing an increasingly unmanageable patient backlog.
* He discovered the origin of the monkeypox outbreak — and tried to warn the world
* It May Be Too Late to Stop Monkeypox Becoming Endemic in the U.S. and Europe: But if American or European rodents catch the pox, the outbreak will escalate into something much worse. A newly endemic disease. One that’s all but impossible to eradicate.
* Of Course Biden Has Rebound COVID: All of the doctors I spoke with said that they’re still erring on the side of prescribing Paxlovid, thanks to its lack of debilitating side effects.