A person who works at a day care in Illinois has tested positive for monkeypox and potentially exposed children, who are at higher risk for severe outcomes from the virus, state officials announced Friday.
Officials are screening children and others who were potentially exposed for symptoms, and the Food and Drug Administration is allowing the children to receive the Jynneos vaccine, which is authorized only for adults. The vaccine can prevent infection or reduce the severity of symptoms after exposure. Authorities said no one else has tested positive. Illinois health officials had determined that between 40 and 50 people, many of whom are children, had been potentially exposed to the day-care worker directly or to items that had been handled by the person, officials said. “We are casting a wide net,” Julie Pryde, administrator of the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, wrote in a text message Friday night. Pryde said that several dozen children had been offered vaccines, pending their guardians’ approval. Officials from the new White House team of monkeypox coordinators, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention learned of the day-care worker’s infection early Friday afternoon and worked to expedite vaccines to the potentially exposed individuals. One official estimated that the necessary paperwork to allow children to receive the vaccines was completed within an hour, noting that the faster a vaccine is given after exposure the more likely it is to prevent infection.