Children, Employees at Central Illinois Daycare Screened for Monkeypox After Worker Tests Positive

Local, state and federal resources were deployed to assist with the situation, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health

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Children and staff members at a Champaign-area daycare center are being screened for potential exposure to the monkeypox virus after an employee at the facility tested positive, according to health officials.

The Champaign Urbana Public Health District was notified Thursday that an adult who works at a daycare center in the Rantoul area contracted the monkeypox virus, marking the third case in Champaign County, CUPHD Administrator Julie Pryde said.

Health care personnel were on site Friday afternoon, assessing those who were potentially exposed and providing resources about the virus. No additional cases have been reported so far, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Anyone whose child who was possibly exposed will receive a call from health care workers, and won't need to contact their local public health agency, Pryde said.

Local, state and federal resources were deployed to assist health care workers, said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra, who noted the Biden administration was aware of the situation. At the request of IDPH, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of the monkeypox vaccine for anyone under 18 years old without "jumping through the normal hoops in the process," Vohra explained.

The person who contracted monkeypox is in isolation and is said to be doing well. Along with being employed at the daycare facility, the individual also works in home health care, where one client was possibly exposed, according to IDPH. That person has been notified of the potential exposure.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is working to provide financial resources for impacted families, so they can quarantine safely without losing income or work, Vohra said. With the approval of parents or guardians, vaccine doses are being given to children who've been exposed.

Monkeypox is a rare, but potentially serious viral illness, which often begins with flu-like symptoms and swelling of the lymph nodes, and progresses to a rash on the face and body, health experts said.

Virus symptoms range from fever and aches to rashes all over the body.

Health officials emphasized the virus isn't the same as COVID, reiterating it isn't airborne and is spread in a different way.

"Monkeypox is not airborne, it is primarily spread through close skin-to-skin contact. But it can also be spread by droplets during prolonged close contact and through contact with items that may have been contaminated such as towels or bedding," Pryde said. "It's a virus and viruses do not discriminate on who they affect."

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