SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — I can understand the worry, especially if parents have kids under the age of 8, as I do. The CDC says if this age group gets infected with monkeypox or MPX, they’re at an increased risk of developing severe illness. There is not much data regarding monkeypox in children.
The CDC says this virus can result in complications including encephalitis, inflammation of the brain; cellulitis, a potentially serious bacterial skin infection; pneumonia, sepsis, abscess, airway obstruction due to severely swollen lymph nodes; keratitis, inflammation of the eye; and corneal scarring, scarring on the outermost layer of the eye.
While that all sounds quite scary, there is no need to panic as these complications are considered to be rare. And secondly, the risk to the general public is considered to be low right now.
Most of the people getting infected are men who have had sexual contact with other men. And, the virus is primarily spread through close contact. I’m talking skin-to-skin contact. So, at this time, parents do not need to avoid public places. And, they don’t need to wipe down surfaces like door handles, toys, or swings at the playground. Of course, if monkeypox cases are high in your community, then you may want to take extra precautions. I highly recommend frequent hand washing as that helps with the spread of any infectious disease like the common cold, flu and COVID-19.
It can be confusing as symptoms start off just like other viruses - fever, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue. The rash usually follows 1 to 3 days later. The appearance of a rash does not necessarily mean it’s monkeypox and it can be confused with other rashes that develop from illnesses like chickenpox, measles, scabies, and hand, foot, and mouth disease. So, if your child gets sick or develops a rash, you should take them to your family doctor or pediatrician right away. They can test to see if the monkeypox virus is present or not, or if it’s something else entirely.
As for a vaccine, there are none currently licensed for monkeypox prevention in children. However, the CDC says kids who are close contacts of an infected person may be offered either JYNNEOS or ACAM2000. Data with either of these vaccines is limited, but so far, there are no adverse events in children.