Children potentially at risk of monkey pox at an Illinois kindergarten, officials say

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A person who works in an Illinois kindergarten tested positive for monkey pox and potentially vulnerable children who are more likely to be severely affected by the virus, state officials announced Friday.

Officials examine children and others who have been potentially at risk of symptoms, and the Food and Drug Administration allows children to receive Jynneos vaccine, which is registered only for adults. The vaccine may prevent infection or reduce symptoms after exposure.

What should I know about the symptoms, treatment, and protection of monkey pox?

Authorities said no one else tested positive and he did not say how many people were exposed to the virus, which spreads through close contact with an infected person and does not travel to the air. Government officials said the day care worker is also employed in a home healthcare facility and that they are in contact with an affected client.

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

He commended federal regulators for allowing vulnerable children to be vaccinated rapidly with parental consent and “without jumping over the normal obstacles in the process.”

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

The case of the Illinois day care worker has escalated concerns among public health authorities that the epidemic will spread more widely and affect populations that are more susceptible to serious effects – including children – if not stopped, especially when students return to schools and university campuses this fall.

Monkey pox disease usually resolves after a few weeks, and there are no known cases of death in the United States. However, according to the World Health Organization, in children and people with weak immune systems, the disease can lead to serious medical complications and has had a higher infant mortality rate in previous epidemics.

Ask the Post: What questions do you have about monkey pox?

Public health officials try to convey a nuanced message that sexually active homosexual men are at greatest risk of contracting monkey pox as it is now spread through close, often direct skin contact, mainly among men who have sex with men. But, officials warn, viruses don’t always stay in one demographic and can infect anyone.

“Infection anywhere is potentially an infection anywhere,” said Anne Rimoin, a UCLA epidemiologist who has studied the monkey pox epidemic and praised officials’ efforts to quickly make vaccines available to those exposed in Illinois. “The more we see, the more we see the possibility of spreading – and the more likely these scenarios are going to exist.”

While monkey pox infections can incubate for weeks, Rimoin also stressed that those exposed to an Illinois daycare worker would not necessarily test positive. “Household contacts don’t always get monkey pox – it’s not as transmitted as the coronavirus,” she said.

The CDC recommends fewer sexual partners to reduce exposure to monkey pox

Although in the current epidemic, monkey pox is mainly spread through close contact during sex among homosexual and bisexual men, global health authorities warn that it can spread in other ways that usually involve long-term contact, such as hugging, kissing and dancing without clothes. Potential sources of spread to children include long-term holding, cuddling, and feeding, as well as shared items such as towels, sheets, cups, and kitchen utensils.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent out a health advice to doctors, warning them to look 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 clothes, towels, and bedding.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker (D) said Monday that monkey pox is a public health emergency, saying the move would improve coordination between state agencies and speed up Illinois’ response to the virus. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced a public health emergency related to monkey pox on Thursday, and Biden administration officials said the move would unlock new funds and powers that could help contain the virus and end the US epidemic.

In the Illinois case, the monkey pox day care worker is in isolation and in good condition, officials said. Families of potentially vulnerable children were offered mobile testing and financial assistance to isolate if necessary, authorities said.

“Anyone with the slightest suspicion will be placed in isolation pending any results,” said Julie Pryde, administrator of the Champaign-Urbana District of Public Health.

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