Monkeypox in children is rare, but infections can be serious

Countries such as the United States, France, the Netherlands and Spain have reported cases of monkeypox in children.

Globally, there were 103 cases in children aged 17 and under, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Of these, 26 cases were reported in children aged 0 to 4 years. The total number of monkeypox patients whose age was known was 19,591 as of August 12.

Overall, more than 34,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported worldwide so far.

How does monkeypox affect children?

How does monkeypox affect children? A monkeypox vaccine for school children and teachers.

There is little evidence from countries where monkeypox is not endemic to understand how the virus might affect children.

During an outbreak of monkeypox in the US in 2003 (which authorities believe may have been caused by human contact with prairie dogs), 28 people were reported to have been infected and only two experienced clinical illness serious; they were both children. They got better.

Other than that, information on pediatric cases is scant outside of Africa, where monkeypox is endemic in at least eight countries. But studying how the disease affects children in Africa may offer potential insight.

Between 2001 and 2021, monkeypox death rates in the Central African Republic were higher in children than in adults: 9.6% of children died versus 5.2% of adults, according to Paul Hunter, professor of health protection at the Norwich Medical School in the United Kingdom. This information was shared at a WHO conference.

And during a 1985 outbreak in Zaire, death rates were highest among children aged four and under, with a rate of 14.9%, followed by 6.5% in children aged 5 to 9, according to a study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. There were no deaths in children 10 years and older.

“Children, especially those younger than 5 years, continue to be at higher risk for severe illness,” Hunter said. “But we are seeing much lower overall mortality in the current pandemic and I suspect a significant part of that is due to better access to health care.”

Overall, Hunter said that while the risk of severe illness and death in very young children is higher than in healthy adults, it will still be “a little bit lower than what we’ve seen in Africa in recent years.”

The mysterious Dutch case

As we report in AmericanPost.NewsIn late June 2022, researchers in the Netherlands learned of a case of monkeypox in a 10-year-old boy.

The boy’s illness was especially interesting given the fact that over the course of the global outbreak, which began in May, researchers were unclear on exactly how the virus spreads.

Although the vast majority (over 98%) of reported cases are among men who have sex with men, research has not indicated that the virus is spread exclusively through semen or sexual contact.

Rather, most research has concluded that it spreads through very close contact with monkeypox lesions or other bodily fluids from an infected person.

Investigators first confirmed that the boy had not been sexually abused, since sexual contact is a means of transmission of monkeypox, and then tested the rest of the boy’s family members for the virus.

All tested negative, not only for the virus itself, but also for serological tests, which would have shown whether the boy’s case had been caused by a recent infection or by a vaccine in another family member.

Investigators were unable to find out where or how the boy had been infected.

According to study author Matthijs Welkers, the boy’s infection was very mild. The boy developed about 20 of the virus’s characteristic “pox” in his body.

“During his isolation period at home, he was mostly bored and really looking forward to going back to school,” Welks told DW. “After three weeks [de aislamiento]the scabs from the lesions fell off and (she went back) to school.”

It may interest you: The United States exceeds 10,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox

A monkeypox vaccine for schoolchildren and teachers

A monkeypox vaccine for school children and teachers.

Now, with the start of a new school year fast approaching in many countries, some people are asking whether special precautions should be taken to protect children and teachers, where children learn and play in close contact all day.

There is a good reason for it. Health department officials in the US state of Illinois reported possible exposure to monkeypox at a day care center, where a teacher tested positive in early August.

None of the children had tested positive for the virus at the time of this writing, but US health officials are offering them the Jynneos vaccine, also known as the Imvanex vaccine as a precaution.

Jynneos/Imvanex is the only vaccine approved to specifically treat monkeypox, although some countries are also using older vaccines designed to prevent smallpox. And we can all use basic hygiene ideas, as we have during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Health experts stress that people should wash their hands often: If you touch a contaminated surface, the virus can infect you if you touch your mouth, eyes, or nose. And you should avoid prolonged skin-to-skin contact with people you suspect may have been exposed or have been confirmed to have monkeypox.

Research shows no evidence of airborne transmission of monkeypox, and surface transmission, while potentially possible, is less likely than transmission through skin-to-skin contact or contact with saliva, such as through of the kisses

So keep this in mind and watch out for the symptoms:

The WHO says typical symptoms of monkeypox include fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes. The rash, or “pox,” usually appears one to three days after the initial symptoms.

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