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New Hampshire state health officials report the state’s first pediatric monkeypox virus infection, in a Manchester child.
The child was infected after an identified exposure to a household contact diagnosed with monkeypox. The child has a mild illness and is isolated at home.
“Monkeypox virus is transmitted primarily through direct physical contact with another person with monkeypox who has developed infectious skin lesions,” said state epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan. “Our public health team is working to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus so that we can connect them with preventive vaccination, but the risk to the general school population and other members of the community is very weak.
The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the City of Manchester Department of Health (MHD) are working with the child’s school to conduct contact tracing and identify others who may have had direct physical contact or extended face-to-face hours. contact with the child while they were contagious. Any identified exposed person will be contacted by public health investigators and provide recommendations on symptom monitoring and related to JYNNEOS vaccination, which can help prevent infection after exposure.
The general school community is believed to be at very low risk of infection with monkeypox virus. Monkeypox virus is transmitted primarily through direct physical contact with another person infected with monkeypox virus who is symptomatic. Although hours of prolonged face-to-face contact can also potentially spread the virus through infected respiratory droplets, this is not the main way the virus spreads.
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The majority of people infected with the monkeypox virus during the 2022 outbreak were adults. However, the CDC reports at least 27 children and adolescents under the age of 16 across the United States who have developed monkeypox. People with monkeypox develop a unique rash that changes over time as a person’s disease progresses, then slowly subsides over several weeks. The monkeypox rash is highly contagious. Other symptoms of monkeypox may include fever, chills, headache, exhaustion, muscle aches, sore throat, or swollen lymph nodes. Sometimes people may just have the rash.
A person with monkeypox can spread their infection from the time they first develop symptoms, and it remains contagious until their rash has completely healed and a new layer of skin has formed. People without symptoms of monkeypox are not considered contagious or a risk to others.