78.4 F
Thursday, October 6, 2022

Which Kids Are Most at Risk From Monkeypox?

Certain medical conditions may put some children more at risk of monkeypox than others, experts say.

Many children are testing positive for the disease, with least two schools reporting single cases in Texas alone on Monday this week.

A stock photo depicts a person lying in a hospital bed with their hand apparently covered in red lesions, one symptom of monkeypox. One mom has kept her child away from school for fear of catching the disease.
Berkay Ataseven/Getty

It prompted at least one parent to keep their children home, according to news outlet Fox 26 Houston.

The mom said that she “didn’t feel safe” letting her kids attend the IDEA Hardy public school, where one of the cases were identified, although the campus spokesperson said all spaces had been deep-cleaned.

There have been more than 51,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox as part of this year’s unprecedented global outbreak of the virus, including more than 18,000 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Monkeypox causes a body rash, as well as other symptoms such as fever and aches. It has been seen in humans for decades, but until this year, had rarely been observed outside of West and Central Africa.

A notable characteristic of this outbreak is that many reported cases have occurred in communities of men who have sex with men (MSM), leading health services to prioritize these groups for vaccines.

However, health experts have stressed that monkeypox can affect anyone and spreads through close contact, including touching the rash it causes, or objects that have been used by someone with the virus.

As such, children are susceptible to the virus. However, it is not known whether they are more susceptible to monkeypox than adults, but some may be at higher risk than others.

The CDC states that children at risk of severe disease from monkeypox include: young children; children with eczema and other skin conditions such as burns, impetigo or severe acne; and children with conditions that compromise their immune system.

Dr. John C. Christenson is a professor of clinical pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine Ryan White Center for Pediatric Infectious Disease and Global Health.

He told Newsweek: “Monkeypox or smallpox in persons with eczema, an inflammatory condition that affects the integrity of the skin, results in a more widespread infection of the person—[the] virus spreads more easily.

“This was seen in patients with smallpox, in persons who received the live vaccine against smallpox.”

Christenson added that patients with immunodeficiencies, conditions that impair the immune system’s ability to defend the body against threats such as viruses, may also be at increased risk of severe infection.

There are more than 200 types of immunodeficiency disorders with which a child might be born, and many more that someone can acquire later in life, such as through diabetes, AIDS, viral hepatitis, or malnutrition.

As with adults, children infected with monkeypox should be closely monitored throughout their illness. Treatment decisions closely align with those for adults, the CDC states. This might include post-exposure vaccination.

The JYNNEOS vaccine, which is being ordered around the world to inoculate people against monkeypox, has not been studied specifically for children or adolescents.

However, it is possible for the vaccine to be given to children if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration provides a single-patient authorization, which can be obtained through state and local health departments as well as the CDC.

The vaccine has been given to some children during the outbreak, the CDC states, and no adverse effects have been reported in the U.S. as yet.

More information on children and monkeypox can be found on the CDC’s website here.


Related Articles

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles