An adult at an Illinois daycare center has tested positive for monkeypox, and a number of children may have been exposed to the virus, Illinois health officials said Friday.
At this time, authorities have not disclosed how many children may have been exposed to the virus. Screening of children and staff at the daycare, located in the Rantoul, Illinois area near Champaign, is currently underway and no additional cases have yet been discovered.
“All available state, local and federal resources are being deployed to help families,” state officials said at a Friday afternoon news conference. “Paediatricians are on site, as we speak, screening children for cases and they are carrying out mobile testing and vaccinations for their families. Health officials will continue to stay in contact with families and provide information and resources in the coming days.”
The daycare has been cleaned and is still open, officials said.
“People who have been exposed, potentially, don’t need to be in quarantine, so they are screened and assessed. Anyone who has even the slightest suspicion, we will put them in isolation pending any type of results, but they have the advice for cleaning and they probably did way more than necessary,” officials said.
The person with monkeypox “also works at a home care center” and health officials have been in contact with the only client who was affected.
“The person with monkeypox is in isolation, is under medical supervision and is doing well,” officials added.
The disease is usually transmitted by prolonged skin-to-skin contact with lesions or bodily fluids of infected people. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to lesions, which can appear as pimples or blisters, the most common symptoms associated with monkeypox are swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches.
Officials reported that Illinois Governor JB Pritzker had been in contact with the White House and, at the state’s request, “the Food and Drug Administration has cleared the vaccine for use for anyone of under the age of 18, without going through the normal stages of this process.”
“This means anyone with their guardian’s approval will be vaccinated today,” officials said.
ABC News has contacted the FDA and the White House to find out if formal permission has been given for children to receive the JYNNEOS vaccine.
On Tuesday, the FDA confirmed to ABC News that “many” children have been granted access through a special authorization process that operates on a case-by-case basis.
If a doctor decides that someone under the age of 18 has been exposed to monkeypox and that the benefit of the vaccine outweighs any potential risk, they can submit a request to the FDA. In a statement, the FDA said many such requests have been granted, but did not specify how many.
Currently, the majority of nationally and globally confirmed cases of monkeypox in the current outbreak have been detected in gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men. However, health officials have repeatedly stressed that the virus does not discriminate and that anyone exposed to monkeypox can contract the virus.
In the United States, at least five children have now tested positive for monkeypox, according to state and local officials across the country.
On Thursday, the Biden administration declared the current monkeypox epidemic be a public health emergency in the United States
Globally, more than 28,000 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in 88 countries, including 7,500 cases reported nationally.