Illinois daycare worker tests positive for monkeypox, officials say, but no cases reported in children


An Illinois daycare worker has tested positive for monkeypox, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Friday, but no other cases have been reported there.

“An adult in a nursery school in the Rantoul area has tested positive for a case of monkeypox,” department director Dr. Sameer Vohra told a news conference. “Assessment of the children and other staff is taking place now.”

Authorities did not say how many children might have been exposed to the virus. The worker is isolated and “does well”. The nursery has also been cleaned.

Vohra said the US Food and Drug Administration has made the monkeypox vaccine available to children “bypassing the normal hurdles in this process” so that parents of children exposed to the virus can vaccinate their children.

“Pediatricians are on site as we speak to screen children for cases, and there are mobile tests and vaccinations for their families,” he said.

The daycare worker also works in home health care and public health officials are in contact with an affected client.

Public health officials asked parents to allow disease researchers to contact them if their child is affected.

“If your child has had the potential to be exposed to this outbreak, you will receive a call from the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. It is not necessary to call the nurseries. You do not need to call public health. You will be contacted,” said Julie Pryde, district administrator.

Monkeypox is spread primarily through prolonged skin-to-skin contact or through contact with contaminated items.

A few cases have been reported in the United States in women and children in the ongoing outbreak, but the virus has been found predominantly in gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men.

There are more than 7,500 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States as of Friday afternoon, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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