Monkeypox Case Investigation — Cook County Jail, Chicago, Illinois, July–August 2022

Chicago, Illinois, July-August 2022

Liesl M. Hagan, MPH; Amy Beeson, MD; Sarah Hughes, MPH; Rashida Hassan, MSPH; Lauren Tietje, MPH; Ashley A. Meehan, MPH; Hillary Spencer, MD; Janice Turner, MPH; Morgan Richardson, MFA; Jourdan Howard, MPH; Anne Schultz, MPH; Salma Ali, MPH; Margaret Mary Butler, MSN; Diana Arce Garza, MS; Clint N. Morgan, MS; Chantal Kling; Nicolle Baird, PhD; Michael B. Townsend, PhD; William C. Carson; David Lowe, PhD; Nhien T. Wynn, MS; Stephanie R. Black, MD; Janna L. Kerins, VMD; Josh Rafinski, MBA; Andrew Defuniak, MD; Priscilla Auguston, MD; Emily Mosites, PhD; Isaac Ghinai, MBBS; Chad Zawitz, MD


Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2022;71(40):1271-1277. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Knowledge about monkeypox transmission risk in congregate settings is limited. In July 2022, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) confirmed a case of monkeypox in a person detained in Cook County Jail (CCJ) in Chicago, Illinois. This case was the first identified in a correctional setting in the United States and reported to CDC during the 2022 multinational monkeypox outbreak. CDPH collaborated with CCJ, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and CDC to evaluate transmission risk within the facility. Fifty-seven residents were classified as having intermediate-risk exposures to the patient with monkeypox during the 7-day interval between the patient's symptom onset and his isolation. (Intermediate-risk exposure was defined as potentially being within 6 ft of the patient with monkeypox for a total of ≥3 hours cumulatively, without wearing a surgical mask or respirator, or potentially having contact between their own intact skin or clothing and the skin lesions or body fluids from the patient or with materials that were in contact with the patient's skin lesions or body fluids.) No secondary cases were identified among a subset of 62% of these potentially exposed residents who received symptom monitoring, serologic testing, or both. Thirteen residents accepted postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), with higher acceptance among those who were offered counseling individually or in small groups than among those who were offered PEP together in a large group. Monkeypox virus (MPXV) DNA, but no viable virus, was detected on one surface in a dormitory where the patient had been housed with other residents before he was isolated. Although monkeypox transmission might be limited in similar congregate settings in the absence of higher-risk exposures, congregate facilities should maintain recommended infection control practices in response to monkeypox cases, including placing the person with monkeypox in medical isolation and promptly and thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting spaces where the person has spent time. In addition, officials should provide information to residents and staff members about monkeypox symptoms and transmission modes, facilitate confidential monkeypox risk and symptom disclosure and prompt medical evaluation for symptoms that are reported, and provide PEP counseling in a private setting.