Children potentially exposed to monkey pox at Illinois daycare, officials say


A person who works at an Illinois daycare center has tested positive for monkeypox and potentially exposed children, who are at higher risk for serious effects from the virus, state officials announced Friday.

Officials screen children and others who may have been exposed to symptoms, and the Food and Drug Administration allows the children to Jynneos vaccine, which is only approved for adults. The vaccine can prevent infection or reduce the severity of symptoms after exposure.

What you need to know about monkeypox symptoms, treatments, and protection?

Authorities said no one else has tested positive. Illinois health officials had determined that between 40 and 50 people, many of whom are children, may have been directly exposed to the day nurse or to items handled by the person, officials said.

“We are casting a wide net,” Julie Pryde, administrator of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, wrote in a text Friday evening. Pryde said several dozen children had been given vaccines pending approval from their guardians.

Officials from the new team of monkeypox coordinators from the White House, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention learned of the daycare worker’s infection early Friday afternoon and worked to expedite vaccines to the potentially exposed individuals. An official estimated that the paperwork necessary for children to receive the vaccines was completed within an hour, noting that the sooner a vaccine is administered after exposure, the more likely it is to prevent infection.

Local officials also appreciate the federal response, which has been scrutinized in recent weeks by doctors and patients who have complained about unnecessary bureaucracy in accessing treatments, tests and vaccines. Sameer Vohra, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, praised federal regulators Friday for allowing the prompt vaccination of exposed children with their parents’ approval and “without jumping through the normal hoops in this process.”

The virus spreads through close contact with an infected person and is not airborne. State officials said the day nurse also works in a home care setting and they were in contact with the affected client.

Federal officials have confirmed more than 7,500 cases of monkeypox in the United States, mostly among gay and bisexual men. According to federal officials, at least five children have confirmed cases of monkey pox that are believed to result from household transmission.

The case of the daycare provider in Illinois has been sharpened concerns among public health authorities fear the outbreak will spread more widely and affect populations more vulnerable to serious impacts — including children — if not contained, especially as students return to schools and college campuses this fall.

Monkeypox disease usually resolves after a few weeks and there are no known deaths in the United States. But for children and people with weak immune systems, the disease can lead to serious medical complications and a higher death rate in young children from previous outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization.

Ask the Post: What are your questions about Monkeypox?

Public health officials are trying to convey a nuanced message that sexually active gay men are most at risk for contracting monkeypox because it currently spreads through close, often skin-to-skin contact, primarily among men who have sex with men. But, officials warn, viruses don’t always stay in one demographic and can infect anyone.

“An infection anywhere can be an infection everywhere,” said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at UCLA who has studied the monkeypox outbreak and praised officials’ efforts to quickly make vaccines available to people exposed in Illinois. “The more cases we see, the more likely we see spreading — and the more likely it is that these scenarios will exist.”

While monkeypox infections can incubate for weeks, Rimoin also stressed that people exposed to the Illinois childcare worker would not necessarily test positive. “Household contacts don’t always get monkey pox — it’s not as transmissible as coronavirus,” she said.

CDC recommends fewer sexual partners to reduce monkeypox exposure

Although monkeypox, in the current outbreak, is mainly spread through close contact during sex between gay and bisexual men, global health authorities warn it can spread in other ways that usually involve prolonged contact, such as hugging, kissing and dancing without clothes. . Possible sources of spread to children include prolonged holding, cuddling and feeding, as well as through shared items such as towels, bedding, cups and utensils.

Last week, the CDC sent a health advisory to clinicians warning them to be alert for symptoms of the virus in other vulnerable populations, including children and adolescents. To prevent the spread of the virus between children and caregivers or family members, officials recommend avoiding contact with infected people and their clothing, towels and bedding.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D) declared monkey pox a public health emergency on Monday, saying the move would improve coordination between government agencies and accelerate Illinois’ response to the virus. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra then declared a national public health emergency for monkey pox on Thursday, with Biden officials saying the move would unlock new funding and authority that could help contain the virus and help U.S. to end the outbreak.

In the case of Illinois, the daycare worker with monkeypox is in isolation and in good condition, officials said. Families of potentially exposed children were offered mobile testing and financial assistance to isolate if necessary, authorities said.

“Anyone with the slightest suspicion, we will put them in seclusion pending any type of result,” Pryde said.

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