While adults can receive the Jynneos vaccine, a vaccine for smallpox, for prevention, children are at higher risk of both contracting the disease and developing severe symptoms as a result.
India recently reported its third confirmed case of the monkeypox virus. While the disease is not as infectious as many others, like even the SARS CoV-2, it can pose a danger to children. Though India has not reported any cases in children, other countries have started to report cases in children during the current outbreak.
Health authorities in the US have reported two cases of the monkeypox in children. This marks the first time that the virus has been reported in children in the country. One of the infected was a toddler while the other was an infant. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated that both were receiving treatment and in good health. Along with six monkeypox cases in individuals aged 17 or younger in Europe, these cases present the first few cases of transmission of monkeypox in children outside of its endemic regions in Africa.
Monkeypox in children
With the disease has been around for decades in several regions of West and Central Africa, doctors say that children tend to get infected with more severe symptoms of the disease. Children are also more susceptible to contracting the virus as nearly none today have been immunized against the smallpox virus, which provides protection against the monkeypox virus.
While the disease itself is usually self-limiting, as it runs its course within 2 to 4 weeks, chances of severe symptoms developing are more likely in children, older adults who haven’t received the smallpox vaccine, and immunocompromised individuals. While adults can receive the Jynneos vaccine, a vaccine for smallpox, for prevention, children are at higher risk of both contracting the disease and developing severe symptoms as a result.
How to prevent children from getting it.
Both the infected children from the US are receiving the tecovirimat or TPOXX vaccine, which the CDC recommends for children under the age of eight, as they are at higher risk of contracting the disease. While the vaccine is available in India, the government has made no recommendation for administering the virus to children yet as the caseload in India remains in the single digits.
According to a new study, monkeypox is primarily spread during sexual activity, as the virus spreads through close physical contact, respiratory droplets, and even coming in contact with contaminated surfaces like clothes.
To prevent children from contracting monkeypox, parents must ensure that children don’t come in contact with infected individuals. Proper sanitary and hygiene habits like regularly washing and sanitising hands, disinfecting common surfaces, and staying away from monkeys, rodents, and sick and dead animals are other steps that they can take.
(Edited by : Sudarsanan Mani)
First Published: IST