Illinois health officials reported Friday that an adult employee at a Champaign County children's daycare center tested positive for the monkeypox virus, the first case at such a location, bringing that state's total number of confirmed cases to 602.
"We are taking a robust effort to address the situation," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Sameer Vohra said during a press conference Friday. "An adult in a daycare center in the Rantoul area has tested positive for a case of monkeypox."
Vohra said that children and the staff of the facility were being screened, but no other cases have been identified there, and that all state and federal resources are being deployed to help impacted families.
He said that the state had been in contact with the White House regarding the situation and that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the vaccine for the disease on children.
"That means that anyone with their guardian's approval will be vaccinated today," he said. "Pediatricians are on site as we speak to screen children for cases and there are mobile testing and vaccines for their families."
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker declared monkeypox a public health emergency on Aug. 1 when the state topped 500 cases, the third most in the nation.
"MPV is a rare, but potentially serious disease that requires the full mobilization of all available public health resources to prevent the spread," Pritzker said in a statement Aug. 1. "That's why I am declaring a state of emergency to ensure smooth coordination between state agencies and all levels of government, thereby increasing our ability to prevent and treat the disease quickly.
"We have seen this virus disproportionately impact the LGBTQ+ community in its initial spread. Here in Illinois, we will ensure our LGBTQ+ community has the resources they need to stay safe while ensuring members are not stigmatized as they access critical health care."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 602 confirmed cases in Illinois, and 7,510 nationwide as of Friday.
The rare zoonotic infection is caused by the same family of viruses as smallpox but is much milder and endemic in parts of Africa.
It is spread through close physical, and prolonged contact, with 99% of cases coming from men, and 94% of those from men who have sex with other men, according to the agency.
As of Friday, there are a total of 28,220 confirmed cases reported worldwide, according to the CDC.
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