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What is known about monkeypox in children

Germany records first case of monkeypox in a child in the country. So far, research and experiences in other nations show that the infection is rare, but it can be serious. of the monkeys in a child in the country. The case was detected on Tuesday (09/08) in a 4-year-old girl. She lives in the city of Pforzheim, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, with two adults who have been infected. The child did not show any symptoms of monkeypox, and tested positive after a close contact in the home became ill from the disease. The Baden-Württemberg State Health Department told DW that the girl had no close contacts outside the home. Brazil records cases in children Other cases in children have been reported in countries such as the United States, France, the Netherlands and Spain. In Brazil, the city of São Paulo confirmed at the end of July three cases in three children: two 6-year-old girls and a 4-year-old boy. These were the first cases recorded in the capital of São Paulo. The Municipal Health Department of Salvador confirmed on Monday (08/08) that one of the 13 infected with monkeypox in the city is a 2-year-old child. Worldwide, 25 children aged 4 and under have already been infected with the disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO says that monkeypox is also relatively uncommon in the next age group, 5 to 17 years: only 98 cases have been reported worldwide, out of some 17,400 in which the patient’s age is known. In all, as of Friday, the WHO estimated more than 31,000 cases of monkeypox in dozens of countries and territories. How smallpox affects children There is little evidence from countries where monkeypox is not endemic to understand how the virus can affect children. During a 2003 outbreak of monkeypox in the US – which authorities believe was caused by human contact with prairie dogs, a type of rodent – ​​28 people were infected, and only two of them had serious clinical effects – both were children, but recovered. In addition, information on pediatric cases is scarce outside Africa, where smallpox is endemic in at least eight countries. But studying how the disease affects children on the mainland may offer some clues. Between 2001 and 2021, the death rate from monkeypox in the Central African Republic was higher among children than among adults: 9.6% of infected children – versus 5.2% of adults – died, according to Paul. Hunter, professor of health protection at Norwich Medical School in the UK. This information was shared at a WHO conference. And during a 1985 outbreak in Zaire, the death rate was highest among children aged 4 and under, at 14.9%, followed by 6.5% among children aged 5 to 9, according to a published study. in The Journal of Infectious Diseases. There were no deaths in children aged 10 years and older. “Children, especially those under age 5, have a higher risk of developing serious illness,” says Hunter. “But we’re seeing much lower overall mortality in the current pandemic, and I suspect a significant part of that is due to better access to healthcare.” Overall, the expert says, while the risk of serious illness and death among very young children is indeed higher than among healthy adults, it will still be “somewhat lower than what we’ve seen in Africa in recent years.” The Mysterious Dutch Case In June 2022, researchers in the Netherlands identified a curious case of monkeypox in a 10-year-old boy, at a time when it was still unclear how the virus spread. Although the overwhelming majority (over 98%) of cases have been reported in men who have sex with men, research does not indicate that the virus is transmitted exclusively through semen or sexual contact. Instead, most studies have concluded that monkeypox is spread by very close contact with the lesions caused by the disease or with other bodily fluids of an infected person. First, the Dutch scientists confirmed that the boy had not been sexually abused – as sexual contact is a means of transmission – and then they tested the rest of the family for the virus. All tested negative, not just for the virus itself, but also in serological tests that would have shown whether the boy’s case had been caused by a recent infection or a vaccination in another family member. The researchers were unable to find out where or how the child contracted the disease. According to study author Matthijs Welkers, the infection was very mild. The boy developed around 20 rashes on his body, which is the hallmark of the virus. “During his period of isolation at home, he was bored and really wanted to go back to school,” Welkers told DW. “After three weeks [de isolamento]the scabs of the lesions fell off and he returned to school.” Vaccination for Students and Teachers Now, with the start of the school year approaching in many countries in the Northern Hemisphere, the question is whether special precautions should be taken to protect children and teachers, There is good reason for this concern: Illinois State Health Department officials reported potential exposure to monkeypox from monkeys at a day care center, where a teacher had tested positive early in Aug. None of the children have tested positive for the virus so far, but health officials already offer them the Jynneos vaccine – also known as the Imvanex vaccine – as a precaution. Jynneos/Imvanex is the only immunizer approved to specifically treat smallpox in children. monkeys, although some countries are also using older vaccines designed to prevent smallpox Preventive care People can also make use of basic hygiene care to prevent monkeypox, as is done during the covid-19 pandemic. Health experts emphasize that you should wash your hands frequently – after contact with a contaminated surface, the virus can infect through further contact with the mouth, eyes or nose. Prolonged contact with the skin of anyone who is suspected of having been exposed to or infected with monkeypox should also be avoided. Research does not show any evidence of airborne transmission. And transmission through contaminated surfaces – although theoretically possible – is less likely than spread by skin-to-skin contact or with saliva, such as through kissing. The WHO says typical symptoms of monkeypox include fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes. The rashes usually appear one to three days after the initial symptoms, as flu-like manifestations: tiredness, malaise and fever. Author: Clare Roth

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