Children are susceptible to Monkeypox, although risk remains low

As children get ready to head back to school, health experts at the American Academy of Pediatrics advise that the risk to children is low.

But that doesn’t mean there is no risk.

"I think the risk for children is, we’re basing information on what we see in Africa, is that children are susceptible," said Children’s Minnesota Infection Preventionist Joe Kurland. "The risk really comes down to look at what type of skin to skin contact the caregivers, the adults, are having with children."

Kurland explains that the virus is primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact with infected persons, but more importantly the infected lesions or blisters on the skin.

At its core, Monkeypox is a viral infection. In past outbreaks the symptoms tend to start with a fever, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says with the current outbreak that might not always be the case in children.  The CDC says other symptoms could include a cough and fatigue, but the most distinguishing sign is a rash.

"And the rash has a progression from kind of raised red bumps to the blisters developing into very tight like lesions or pustules in the skin," said Kurland. "You remain infectious actually from those blisters until you have normal, healthy skin that is recovered and the blisters are all gone."

In its guidance to clinicians, the CDC advises that the Monkeypox rash can be confused with other common childhood rashes including chickenpox, hand foot and mouth disease, and measles. It’s advising doctors that children and adolescents presenting signs of symptoms that are suspicious of Monkeypox should be tested.

Cases in children across the U.S. are extremely low. So far the CDC has reported only two infections in children of the more than 9,400 confirmed cases in the country.

Kurland says parents should not be overly concerned as they get ready to send their kids back to school and daycare, but they should stay on top of their health.

"If there is a question on whether or not their kids don’t feel good, get them checked out with their doctor. If they develop a rash on their skin, get that checked out by their doctor and just be monitoring for this," Kurland said.