You may have noticed that a new disease is starting to show up in the headlines. Monkeypox. We have compiled the below information from trusted sources to help provide you with the latest information on the monkeypox virus. At the onset, it is important to note that the virus has not been deadly so far in the United States and has appeared mostly in adults. However, as with everything - we want you to be informed and prepared.
New York State, New York City and San Francisco have taken steps to declare monkeypox a public health emergency. The World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
What is it?
Monkeypox is a viral disease, it was first discovered in lab monkeys in 1958. The disease is similar to smallpox, but is less lethal and contagious.
How do you get it?
Monkeypox is primarily spread through close contact. This can include sexual activity, as well as hugging or kissing an individual who is infected. Most often skin-to-skin contact is needed. However, monkeypox may also spread by touching objects - clothing, bedding, towels and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox. In the case of children monkeypox can also be spread by holding and cuddling.
A person with monkeypox can spread it to others from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks.
What are the signs/symptoms?
Monkeypox is much like the regular flu. It has been known to cause fever, headache, body aches, and a rash. The rash is unique to monkeypox and we should all be aware of what it looks like. In most individuals the rash looks like pimples or blisters. In some cases, infected individuals may get the rash before they show other signs or symptoms. In most cases the rash will heal itself in 2-4 weeks and you will likely see the rash crust over and then fall off as these bumps heal.
Who has gotten monkeypox so far?
The majority of cases in the United States have been among men who have sex with other men. However, in the last few weeks there have also been 2 children who have gotten monkeypox. However, according to the World Health Organization, approximately 80 children around the world have recently gotten monkeypox.
Data from CDC as of July 31, 2022
What is the impact on children?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that children under the age of eight may be at an increased risk for severe outcomes from monkeypox because their immune system is not as developed as an adult. .
Is there a vaccine?
Yes, vaccine and treatment options are available. Currently they are very limited. Current efforts are to vaccine at-risk adults. There is not a vaccine widely available for children at this time.
What is not yet known?
There is a lot that scientists are still researching. A few of these items include:
If the virus can be spread when someone has no symptoms
Whether monkeypox can be spread through semen, vaginal fluids, urine, or feces.
What should we do?
COVID-19 certainly taught us a lot of lessons. Continue practicing good hygiene - including washing your hands. As monkeypox can also be transmitted through fabrics and linens, be sure you are regularly washing these items. When children are sick, they should stay at home. This is sound public health practice not just for monkeypox - but a wide variety of other illnesses.
Keep up to date on the latest news and information regarding monkeypox, as this is an evolving situation.
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