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Health

Adult at Illinois day care tests positive for monkeypox, children potentially exposed

Mario Tama/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) -- An adult at an Illinois day care center has tested positive for monkeypox, and a number of children may have been exposed to the virus, health officials in Illinois announced on Friday.

At this time, officials did not disclose the number of children that may have been exposed to the virus. Screening of children and staff from the day care, which is located in the Rantoul area of Illinois, near Champaign, is currently underway, and no additional cases have been discovered as of yet.

"All available state, local and federal resources are being deployed to assist families," state officials said during a press conference on Friday afternoon. "Pediatricians are on site, as we speak, to screen children for cases and they're mobile testing and vaccines for their families. Health officials will continue to stay in contact with families and provide information and resources in the coming days."

The day care has been cleaned, and it is still open, officials said.

"The people who have been exposed, potentially, do not need to be in quarantine, so they are being screened and assessed. Anyone with even a tiny little suspicion, we will put them in isolation pending any type of results, but they have the guidance for cleaning and they have done that probably a lot more than is even necessary," officials said.

The individual with monkeypox "also works in a home health care," and health officials have been in contact with the one client who has been impacted.

"The person with monkeypox is in isolation, is being medically monitored, and is doing well," officials added.

The disease is typically spread through prolonged skin-to-skin contact with infected people's lesions or bodily fluids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to lesions, which can appear like pimples or blisters, the most common symptoms associated with monkeypox are swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, fatigue and muscle aches.

Officials reported that Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker had been in touch with the White House, and at the state's request, "the Food and Drug Administration has authorized use of the vaccine for anyone under 18, without jumping through the normal hoops in this process."

"That means that anyone with their guardian's approval will be vaccinated today," officials said.

ABC News has reached out to the FDA and the White House for clarity on whether a formal authorization has been made for children to receive the JYNNEOS vaccine.

On Tuesday, the FDA confirmed to ABC News that "numerous" children have been granted access through a special permission process that operates on a case-by-case basis.

If a doctor decides a person under 18 was exposed to monkeypox and the benefit of the vaccine is greater than any potential risk, they can submit a request to the FDA. In a statement, the FDA said numerous such requests have been granted, but did not say exactly how many.

At this time, the majority of monkeypox cases confirmed domestically and globally 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 anyone exposed to monkeypox can contract the virus.

At least five children in the U.S. have now positive for monkeypox, according to state and local officials from across the country.

On Thursday, the Biden administration declared the current monkeypox outbreak to be a public health emergency in the U.S.

Globally, more than 28,000 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed across 88 countries, including 7,500 cases reported domestically.

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