Aug 1, 2022 - News

What to know about monkeypox and kids

Digitally-colorized electron microscopic image depicting a monkeypox virus particle. Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Jennifer Dillaha, director of the Arkansas Department of Health, told Axios NWA the agency has not issued any guidance to school districts concerning the monkeypox outbreak ahead of the new school year.

What they're saying: "At this point in time, we do not consider kids in school to be at high risk for this illness," she said.

  • It should be obvious to parents if their child has monkeypox because they will have a painful rash, she said.
  • The virus is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the rash, respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face-contact like kissing or by contact with contaminated items such as clothing.

Yes, but: There is no reason to believe the disease is any less contagious in children than adults, Dillaha said.

  • Two kids nationwide have tested positive for monkeypox, the AP reported. Neither of the cases are in Arkansas.

Reality check: While men who have sex with men have the highest risk of contracting monkeypox, anyone is able to contract the disease, the health department says.

State of play: Arkansas has four known cases of monkeypox, the state Department of Health confirmed last week. The department confirmed the first case on July 6.

  • The state received about 800 monkeypox vaccines as of Thursday, which are effective even a few days after exposure and reserved for people who have been exposed to the virus, Dillaha said.
  • The vaccines are primarily available through the department, which has at least one health unit in every county. The department has given vaccines to one pharmacy, Park West Pharmacy, in Little Rock.

Zoom out: The U.S. has nearly 5,200 total cases, according to the CDC. The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global emergency about a week ago.

  • San Francisco and the state of New York have declared health emergencies.
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