Saturday August 6, 2022

An Illinois daycare worker has tested positive for monkeypox, prompting officials to fast-track vaccines for exposed children and other employees, the state’s department of health said Friday.

No further details were released about the worker in the Rantoul area, about an hour and a half northeast of Springfield, but the adult was said to be doing well and in isolation.

Illinois Department of Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said Friday at a news briefing that children and other staff were being screened for the virus.

He added that the US Food and Drug Administration made the monkeypox vaccine available for any exposed children “without jumping through the normal hoops in this process.”

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Illinois officials said anyone exposed would be contacted by authorities.

At least 7,500 cases have been confirmed in the US of monkeypox, which spreads through prolonged skin-to-skin contact. The federal government declared a federal health emergency on Thursday to bolster the country’s response to the outbreak, which has been seen primarily among men who have sex with men.

The first known cases of monkeypox began spreading in the US in May, and the first two cases in children were confirmed last month. The virus causes pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body along with symptoms such as fever, chills, fatigue and muscle aches.

There is a two-dose vaccine available tor the virus, though health authorities in major cities have complained that supply has not been able to keep up with demand.

Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University, said the Thursday decision to declare an emergency “signals the U.S. government’s seriousness and purpose, and sounds a global alarm,” as per Advisory Board.

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