Kids at Illinois daycare could also be vulnerable to publicity to monkeypox, officers say

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

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

What you should know about monkeypox symptoms, treatments and protections

Authorities said no one else had 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 care worker or objects that had been handled by the person, officials said.

“We’re casting a wide net,” Julie Pryde, administrator of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, wrote in a text message Friday night. Pryde said several dozen children have been offered vaccines pending parental consent.

Officials on the White House’s new team of monkeypox coordinators, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention learned of the day care worker’s infection early Friday afternoon and are working to expedite vaccines for those potentially exposed. One official estimated that the paperwork needed for children to receive the vaccines was completed within an hour, noting that the sooner a vaccine is given after exposure, the more likely it is to prevent infection.

Local officials also paid tribute to the federal response, which has been scrutinized over the past few weeks by doctors and patients who have complained of unnecessary red tape in trying to access treatments, tests and vaccines. Sameer Vohra, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, on Friday commended federal agencies for allowing exposed children to be vaccinated quickly, with parental consent and “without jumping through normal hoops.”

The virus spreads through close contact with an infected person and is not airborne. State officials said the day care worker is also employed in a home healthcare setting and they are in touch with the affected customer.

Federal officials have confirmed more than 7,500 cases of monkeypox in the United States, mostly among gay and bisexual men. At least five children have confirmed cases of monkeypox, believed to be the result of household transmission, according to federal officials.

The Illinois day care worker’s case has heightened concerns from health officials, who fear the outbreak will continue to spread and hit populations more vulnerable to serious consequences — including children — if it’s not contained, especially as students return in this fall at schools and universities.

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

Ask the Post: What are your questions about monkeypox?

Public health officials are trying to get a nuanced message across that sexually active gay men are at the highest risk of contracting monkeypox because it is currently spread 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 population group and can infect anyone.

“Infection everywhere is potentially infection everywhere,” said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at UCLA who has been studying the monkeypox outbreak and has commended officials’ efforts to get vaccines quickly to those affected in Illinois. “The more cases we see, the more opportunities we see for spread — and the more likely those scenarios are to exist.”

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

CDC recommends fewer sexual partners to reduce exposure to monkeypox

Although in the current outbreak, monkeypox is primarily spread through close contact during sex among gay and bisexual men, global health officials warn that it can spread through other ways usually associated with prolonged contact, such as: B. Hugging, kissing and dancing without clothes. Possible sources of transmission for 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 out a health advisory to clinicians advising them to keep an eye out for symptoms of the virus in other at-risk populations, including children and adolescents. To prevent the virus from spreading between children and caregivers or household members, authorities recommend avoiding contact with infected people and their clothing, towels and bedding.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) on Monday declared monkeypox a public health emergency and said the move would improve coordination among state agencies and expedite Illinois’ response to the virus. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra then on Thursday declared a national health emergency for monkeypox, with Biden administration officials saying the move would unlock new funds and powers that could help contain the virus and end the U.S. to end the outbreak.

In the Illinois case, the day care worker with monkeypox is isolated and in good condition, officials said. Families of potentially exposed children have been offered mobile testing and financial support to isolate them if necessary, authorities said.

“Anyone who has even the slightest suspicion, we will isolate pending any results,” Pryde said.

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