Monkeypox in Children
Frequently Asked Questions
Keep you and your child’s VACCINES up to date
1. What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare infectious disease caused by monkeypox virus. The monkeypox virus is in the same family of viruses that causes smallpox, an infection that has been long eradicated. Monkey pox got its name because it was first discovered in research laboratory monkeys, but the source is not known. It was the source remains unknown. African rodents and nonhuman primates may harbor the virus and transmit it to humans.
2. How is Monkeypox spread or transmitted?
- The most common mode of transmission is direct skin to skin contact with a person infected with monkeypox
- Examples include intimate/sexual encounters, hugging, kissing, touching contaminated surfaces, objects, toys, or fabrics (clothing, towels, bedding)
- Monkeypox can also be spread by respiratory secretions (coughing or sneezing)
- To date, there have only been 5 cases in children reported in the United States and have been linked to household contact with an infected person
3. What are symptoms in children?
Monkey pox is rarely severe and/or fatal. Symptoms often start within 3 weeks of being exposed to the virus. The symptoms are generally mild and may mimic a flu-like illness including:
- fevers / chills
- sore throat
- cough or congestion
- swollen lymph nodes
- body aches
- rash involving the hands, feet, chest, face, mouth, or any other part of the body including the rectal area.
- Most people will have a rash which typically develops 0-5 days AFTER the flu-like symptoms. For some people, the rash may be the only symptom.
4. What does the rash look in children? *
- The rash may look like pimples, blisters, sores, that may be painful or itchy
- The rash may appear differently from person to person and will go through different stages over time.
5. Are the other infections that look like monkeypox? *
Yes, there are several common viruses in children that can cause rashes similar to monkeypox.
6. What do I do if my child has been exposed to suspected or confirmed case of monkeypox?
If concerned, contact your provider, or visit local urgent care and/or emergency center for further evaluation.
7. What is the best way to get tested? And what tests are needed?
Testing may include swabbing the rash, blood, throat, and/or urine. Your provider will be able to arrange for testing.
8. Is there treatment and who are eligible to receive it?
Yes, there is antiviral treatment, such as tecovirimat (TPOXX) that may be used in people with high-risk conditions including very young children with severe infections and those with weakened immune systems.
9. Is there a vaccine available? and who is eligible to receive it?
There are vaccines such as JYNNEOS, which were originally developed for smallpox. Because monkeypox is genetically like smallpox, the vaccine appears to also work against monkeypox. Vaccines are available to adults at least 18 years old, for a select group of people with high-risk exposure. Currently the CDC recommends that the vaccine be given within 4 days from a high-risk exposure as a form of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Vaccines are only administered at designated sites after careful evaluation of patient risk. See below for local sites and appointments.
10. Is it safe to receive the vaccine if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
The vaccine is an attenuated (weakened) non-replicating live viral vaccine and has a very low potential to spread or to cause disease. However, there is no data available on the safety of the vaccine in pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding. If you are pregnant or nursing and have a high-risk exposure, you should discuss the benefits and risks of receiving the vaccine with your doctor or with an infectious disease consultant.
11. How can I protect myself?
- Hand hygiene
- Adopt safer sex practices
- Avoid crowded spaces where possible
- In hospital settings, use protective equipment including gloves, mask, gowns
- Disinfection of contaminated surfaces in the household
12. How can I protect my child?
While there is currently no need or recommendation for universal vaccination against monkeypox, it is important to protect you and your child from all OTHER preventable illnesses so that they remain healthy. The best recommendation is to keep up to date with your and your child’s routine vaccinations including the COVID vaccines to avoid vaccine-preventable diseases including severe COVID-19.
Vaccination sites: To schedule an appointment – 877-VAX-4NYC or 877-829-4692
1. Bronx: Bronx High School of Science Health+ Hospitals Lincoln
2. Brooklyn: Science Skills Center High School
3. Manhattan: AP Central Harlem Monkeypox Vaccine Clinic: Chelsea Monkeypox Vaccine Clinic
4. Queens: AP Corona Monkeypox vaccine Clinic: Thomas J. McCann Woodside
5. Staten Island: Gotham Health / Vanderbilt