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Long line forms in Northalsted District for monkeypox vaccine

Long line forms in Northalsted District for monkeypox vaccine
Long line forms in Northalsted District for monkeypox vaccine 00:35

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A long line of people queued up in the Northalsted district Tuesday evening, waiting for the monkeypox vaccine.

The Chicago Department of Public Health offered monkeypox vaccinations at Steamworks Baths Chicago, 3246 N. Halsted St.

"With the limited supply right now and the numbers increasing, I think it's just going to be a little more difficult," said Dan O'Connor. "As time goes on, more people are becoming aware and nervous about it – trying to get vaccines."

Patrick Edmundson told CBS 2's Jermont Terry he wanted to get in line for the vaccine right away.

"My first thought was be here earlier – but that failed," he said.

Nationwide, there have not been enough vaccine doses to keep up with demand.

In Illinois, there had 200 confirmed cases of monkeypox as of Tuesday. That figure is the third highest in the country – behind California with 267, and New York with 581.

A total of 2,107 monkeypox cases had been reported in the U.S. as of Tuesday – coming in third worldwide behind the United Kingdom with 2,137 and Spain with 3,125.

U.S. health officials expect the number of monkeypox cases to keep climbing for at least the next few weeks.

While monkeypox infections have been seen before in the U.S. — in two travelers from Nigeria last year and in 47 cases that were linked to imported animals back in 2003 — the current outbreak is by far the largest recorded in American history. 

Compared to its more lethal cousin smallpox, officials have said that cases of monkeypox often resolve after a few weeks without additional treatment. The variant linked to the current outbreak has been spreading in Nigeria since 2017, where around 3 percent of the people who contracted monkeypox died.  

After an incubation period, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates is a little longer than a week on average, between exposure to an infected person and the first noticeable signs of the infection, patients generally must endure painful lesions as well as other symptoms — like fever and swollen lymph nodes — until their rashes scab over and heal. 

However, authorities have been careful not to downplay the danger monkeypox's complications might pose beyond its physical pain.

For example, in the United Kingdom, authorities reported that some hospitalized patients faced "severe swelling" that might strangle circulation to the penis. In Spain, some patients were hospitalized due to bacterial infections of their sores. 

The CDC says that the patients who are at "especially increased risk" for severe monkeypox disease include: 

  • Young children under 8 years old
  • People who are pregnant or have a compromised immune system
  • People who have a history of eczema or atopic dermatitis

The agency also says that people living with HIV who have caught monkeypox during the current outbreak are not getting a more severe disease, as long as they are on treatment that is suppressing HIV. 

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