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At least a dozen new mpox cases under investigation in Chicago area

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CBS News Chicago Live

CHICAGO (CBS) -- At least a dozen newly-confirmed cases of mpox are being investigated in the Chicago area.

Chicago health officials warned last week that they had tracked a resurgence of infections from mpox, formerly called monkeypox, many among fully vaccinated residents.

"Most weeks we didn't see a single mpox case, maybe one or two in a higher week. But just these last couple of weeks we saw two, then five, now another six coming in," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said last week.

Of 13 newly confirmed or probable cases in the city, nine of them were among men who had been fully vaccinated, local officials said in an alert distributed to healthcare providers. 

All the cases in the Chicago area were among men between the ages of 24 and 46.

None of the 13 patients were hospitalized. Four disclosed recently traveling outside Chicago: to New York City, New Orleans, and Mexico, the Chicago Department of Public Health reported.

A spokesperson for the city's health department told CBS News that the city is currently working with the CDC on sequencing virus samples collected from the cluster of cases.

This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention once again raises the alarm about the virus – just one year after a global outbreak.

The CDC's new alert for doctors and health authorities comes ahead of new vaccine effectiveness data expected to be released by the agency. 

"Spring and summer season in 2023 could lead to a resurgence of mpox as people gather for festivals and other events," the CDC said in the alert, echoing an earlier prediction by the agency's modelers.

At least 36 new cases have been diagnosed over the past month around the country, according to figures published by the CDC last week. This includes infections during the days leading up to April 26, which officials had previously heralded as a record week of no new infections.

Mpox is a viral disease that spreads through close contact.

It can infect anyone. But in the 2022 outbreak, infections were mostly among men who have sex with men.

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