Officials said no one else has tested positive and He did not say how many people were exposed to the virus, which is spread by close contact with an infected person and is not airborne. State officials said the daycare worker is also employed in a home health care setting and that they were in contact with the affected client.
“All available state, local and federal resources are being deployed to help families,” Sameer Vohra, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said at a news conference.
He praised federal regulators for allowing rapid vaccination of exposed children with parental approval and “bypassing the normal hoops in this process.”
Federal officials have confirmed more than 7,500 cases of monkeypox in the United States, overwhelmingly between gay and bisexual men. At least five children have confirmed cases of monkeypox believed to be the result of home broadcastaccording to federal officials.
The case of the day care worker in Illinois has sharpened concerns among public health authorities who are worried that the outbreak will circulate more widely and affect populations that are most vulnerable to serious outcomes, including children, if not contained, particularly as students return to schools and college campuses this autumn.
Monkeypox illnesses usually resolve after a few weeks, and there are no known deaths in the United States. But for children and people with weakened immune systems, the disease can lead to serious medical complications and had a higher death rate in young children in previous outbreaks. according to the World Health Organization.
Public health officials are trying to communicate a nuanced message that sexually active gay men face the greatest risk of contracting monkeypox because it is currently spreading through close contact, often skin-to-skin, primarily between men who have sex with men. But, officials warn, viruses don’t always stay in one demographic and can infect anyone.
“An infection anywhere is potentially an infection everywhere,” said Anne Rimoin, a UCLA epidemiologist who studied the monkeypox outbreak and praised officials’ efforts to make vaccines available quickly to exposed people in Illinois. . “The more cases we see, the more opportunities for spread we see, and the more likely these scenarios are to exist.”
While monkeypox infections can incubate for weeks, Rimoin also stressed that people exposed to the daycare worker in Illinois would not necessarily test positive. “Domestic contacts do not always get monkeypox, it is not as transmissible as coronavirus,” she said.
Although monkeypox, in the current outbreak, is transmitted primarily by close contact during sex among gay and bisexual men, global health authorities warn that it can spread in other ways that often involve prolonged contact, such as hugging, kissing and dancing without clothes. Potential 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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent out a health notice alerting doctors to be vigilant for symptoms of the virus among other vulnerable populations, including children and adolescents. To prevent the spread of the virus between children and caregivers or household members, officials recommend avoiding contact with infected people and their clothing, towels, and bedding.
Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) declared Monday that monkeypox was a public health emergency and said the move would improve coordination among state agencies and speed Illinois’ response to the virus. The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, on Thursday after declared a national public health emergency over monkeypox, and Biden administration officials said the move would unlock new funding and authority that could help contain the virus and end the outbreak in the US.
In the Illinois case, the daycare worker with monkeypox is isolated and in good condition, officials said. Families of potentially exposed children were offered mobile testing and financial assistance to self-isolate if necessary, officials said.
“Anyone who has even a small suspicion, we will put them in isolation pending any kind of result,” said Julie Pryde, administrator of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.