Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted disease? How kids get it

Although monkeypox primarily affects men who have sex with men during the current outbreak, public health officials point out that the virus can spread to anyone, even children, in several other ways.

Transmission of the virus – which usually begins with a rash that develops into fluid-filled pustules that eventually crust over and fall off – requires “close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact”, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is an infection that is spread by skin-to-skin contact and it appears to be quite a lot of skin-to-skin contact, not just contact with another person,” the official said. Dr. Leisha Nolen, state epidemiologist at the Utah Department of Health. and Human Services.

The CDC says ways monkeypox spreads include:

  • Direct contact with the rash, scabs, or body fluids of a person with monkeypox.
  • Touching clothing, bedding, towels, or other fabrics, objects, and surfaces used by someone with monkeypox.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions.

Besides sexual activity, the types of intimate contact that spread the virus include:

  • Hugs, massages and kisses.
  • Prolonged face-to-face.

A person with monkeypox can spread the virus from the time symptoms begin until the rash is completely healed and replaced by a new layer of skin, the CDC says, noting that the illness which can also include Flu-like symptoms usually last two to four weeks.

monkeypox and children

Monkeypox has been reported in 17 children and teenagers up to 15 years by the CDC, as of August 21, but their risk of monkeypox is described by the CDC as low at this time. Schools are notified to follow “daily operational guidelines that reduce the transmission of infectious diseases,” including disinfection.

“The CDC has emphasized that monkeypox can affect anyone in close contact with people who have monkeypox, and that includes children,” CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said recently. told NBC’s “Today” show in an email.

“Monkey pox is spread through close skin-to-skin contact, which in the case of children can include holding, cuddling, feeding, as well as through shared towels, bedding, cups and utensils,” a said Nordlund, adding that the virus can be transmitted during pregnancy to a fetus or newborn through close contact during and after birth.

Nolen said monkeypox “is definitely the kind of thing that could spread if someone was playing with a child and they had skin contact because they were struggling or tickling. It could certainly happen. At present, it is mainly spreading in the community of men who have sex with men.

That could change, the state epidemiologist said, “when people have other interactions.” For now, in Utah and the rest of the world, she says, while there are “sporadic” cases of women or children catching monkeypox, this is the group of sexually active age of men which constitutes the “vast, vast majority” of cases.

In early August, federal authorities allowed children to receive the adult-only monkeypox vaccine after their exposed to child care worker in rural Illinois who tested positive for the virus, raising concerns about its increased spread.

Since Friday, there have been more than 17,500 cases nationally, and 92 in Utah. None of Utah’s monkeypox cases involve children or adolescents, and so far all have involved men in intimate contact with men, according to Nolen, adding that the state is targeting vaccinations and messaging to prevention for men who have sex with men.

“People who have multiple intimate contacts who are not in monogamous relationships but who may be exposed to others who may have this infection should protect themselves. One of the main ones is to get vaccinated,” a- she said, advising to check rashes for monkeypox.

Other Utahns needn’t worry too much at this point, Nolen said, suggesting parents talk to their children in general about not getting too close to anyone who appears sick, to avoid COVID-19 and to avoid COVID-19. other diseases as well as monkey pox.

“It’s always good to tell the kids about it, you don’t want to get an infection,” she said.

But Nolen said she’s also not worried about “asking our parents to make sure their kids watch for rashes on other kids. It’s not spreading that way right now. I think there is enough to worry about, we don’t need to add another very low risk thing.

The Utah Department of Health and Human Services reports that 65 of Utah’s cases are found in Salt Lake County, with others in Davis, Utah, Tooele, and Summit counties as well as areas served by the Tri-County and Weber-Morgan Health Departments.

What is still unknown

The CDC says it is not yet clear how often monkeypox is transmitted through respiratory secretions, or whether it is spread through semen, vaginal secretions, urine, or feces, or whether the virus can spread when a person has no symptoms.

Nolen noted that “increasingly, it appears the virus is not doing well when just exposed to intact skin.” She said that if someone with healthy skin rubs against someone infected with monkeypox, “it is less likely to enter their body. It’s more when someone has a cut or scrape that they could get in.

So far, however, Nolen said monkeypox hasn’t spread in other settings where cuts and abrasions are likely present, such as in people who play contact sports.

“It’s something we’re watching because it’s a possibility,” she said. “We want to make sure that if it starts to happen that we can really educate and educate people. At the moment it is not spreading that way.

Sewage monitoring is being used in some parts of the country to detect the presence of monkeypox, but Nolen said she thinks “it will be it has been a while before we know how reliable this information would be,” because it is not yet known whether monkeypox is excreted in faeces and urine like COVID-19.

Utah was test sewage samples for COVID-19 since shortly after the start of the pandemic and may soon to start monitoring sewage for polio now that the United States has seen its first case of polio in nearly a decade in a young man from suburban New York who was not vaccinated against the virus.

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