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

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A person who works at a daycare center in Illinois has tested positive for monkey pox, potentially exposing children to the virus, state officials announced Friday.

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

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

Authorities have not said how many people have been exposed to the virus, which spreads through close contact with an infected person and is not airborne. State officials said the person also works in a home care setting and they were in contact with an affected client.

“All available state, local and federal resources are being used to help families,” Sameer Vohra, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said at a news conference.

Federal officials have confirmed more than 7,100 cases of monkeypox in the United States, mostly among gay and bisexual men. Federal officials say at least five children have confirmed cases of monkey pox. The Illinois daycare worker’s case has raised concerns among public health authorities who fear the outbreak will spread more widely if not contained.

Monkeypox disease usually clears up after a few weeks and there are no known deaths in the US. But for children and those with weak immune systems, the disease can lead to serious medical complications and has a higher death rate in young children, according to the World Health Organization.

“An infection anywhere can be an infection everywhere,” said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at UCLA who has studied the monkeypox outbreak. “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.

Global health authorities say monkeypox, in the current outbreak, is mainly spread through close contact during sex between gay and bisexual men. But they 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 kitchen utensils.

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. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra next declared a national public health emergency for monkeypox on Thursday, with Biden officials saying the move would help unlock new funding and authority that could help spread the virus. to contain and end the American outbreak.

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