There have been thousands of positive monkeypox tests in the United States since the outbreak began this spring, but only a small number of cases in children have been reported.
According to state and local health officials, at least 18 children in 10 states have tested positive for monkeypox, but very little is known about most of these cases due to concerns over patient privacy.
An infant in King County, Washington, was recently confirmed to have tested positive for the monkeypox virus, making this the third confirmed case in the state.
After contracting monkeypox from a close relative, the child has been hospitalized in recent days to receive treatment. The infection did not spread to the child in a public place like a school or daycare.
ABC News was told by officials at Seattle Children’s Hospital that they are currently treating the infected infant. The infant is younger than one year old.
According to Dr. Danielle Zerr, medical director of infection prevention at Seattle Children’s Hospital, officials are working on a discharge plan for the infant, who is still in the hospital but is improving. Zerr claims the patient has been hospitalized for days.
She explained that the baby’s parents brought him in because of a worrying rash.
Super infection of the rash was of primary concern because of the patient’s rash and its complications. “Those are the main reasons the patient was admitted,” Zerr explained.
Many patients, especially as the rash worsens over time, may experience noticeable symptoms. Also, “I think that kind of a rash on a child is going to raise people’s antennae and lead a parent to seek care,” she said.
The hospital has been administering TPOXX, an FDA-approved treatment for smallpox that is available for children under special expanded access protocols, in addition to “supportive care” to ensure the young patient is hydrated and well-cared for.
“Once we had the confirmed test result, we started that antiviral for the patient, and it did really seem like there was some improvement in the days following the start of the antiviral,” Zerr said. The treatment seems to be helping the rash. So, that’s encouraging, and [the patient] appears to be, at the very least, feeling a little better.
To find out if any of the employees, patients, or their families have been exposed to the virus, the hospital and local public health authorities have been working to implement contact tracing. According to a statement provided to ABC News by a hospital representative, “appropriate isolation” has been “instituted” for some employees. We will get in touch with anyone who may have been exposed.
Monkeypox vaccine will be offered to those who came into contact with the confirmed case, Zerr said.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization earlier this month allowing children under the age of 18 who are at high risk of monkeypox to be vaccinated.
CDC issued a health alert in July warning that young children (those under the age of 8) may be more susceptible to serious illness from monkeypox infection than older children.
Zerr said that it’s natural for parents to worry after hearing about the spread of pediatric monkeypox. While she acknowledged that the virus is spreading, she emphasized that it is still extremely uncommon for children to contract it and that it is highly unlikely that children will become infected in settings like schools.
Zerr remarked, “I think that the thing that we focus on is the fact that there have been so few pediatric cases.” It’s not the kind of disease that’s likely to be spread in classrooms because it usually requires closer contact, but it can happen. Children who are just going about their daily lives, going to school, and doing things like that are not at all at risk.
Zerr warned parents to keep in touch with their child’s pediatrician and keep an eye out for any unusual rashes in the event their child was exposed to monkeypox.
It’s important to keep a close eye on your kid if you know they’ve been around a confirmed case of monkey pox, as Zerr put it. If your child starts showing new symptoms of illness, I think it’s reasonable to keep them at home. Afterwards, consult your child’s primary care physician if they develop a rash, especially a pustular rash.
To date, the majority of the current monkeypox outbreak’s cases have been identified in gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex exclusively with other men. Although the risk of monkeypox is low among young children and adolescents, health officials have stressed on multiple occasions that anyone can contract the virus.
According to the CDC, there have been more than 47,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox worldwide, with 17,400 of those being located in the United States.
According to the CDC, prolonged skin-to-skin contact with lesions or bodily fluids from infected people is the primary mode of transmission of monkeypox. Infected lesions can also spread the virus through direct contact with towels and sheets.
Besides lesions (which can look like pimples or blisters), the most common symptoms of monkeypox are a high temperature, a headache, fatigue, and aches and pains in the muscles and other joints.
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