The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have updated its monkeypox guidelines for schools and childcare facilities for the upcoming new school year.
Although there have been more than 15,900 cases nationwide, there is still a minimal risk for children in the United States to have monkeypox. The national public health agency advises child-serving settings to adhere to their “everyday operational guidance” as classes resume to stop spreading infectious diseases.
“This includes children, staff, and volunteers staying home when sick, ensuring access to adequate hand washing supplies, including soap and water, maintaining routine cleaning and disinfection practices, identifying private spaces for assessment of an ill child away from others, and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff who care for students with infectious diseases,” the CDC website states.
The CDC says, “Staff who are monitoring a child or adolescent should avoid close contact, if possible, but continue to attend to the child in an age-appropriate manner.”
Dr. Michael Chang, an infectious diseases specialist at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and UTHealth Houston, said the likelihood that children would get the virus and whether or not schools and childcare facilities may turn into a hotspot.
He said, “Historically speaking, there were more monkeypox cases documented in kids in endemic countries — where monkeypox circulates regularly — than adults. But with this current outbreak, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Pediatric patients are very rare so far in all the cases that have been documented. So I wouldn’t consider them to be at higher risk of contracting the disease, but they can definitely get infected.”
Chang added, “Please be sure your children are up to date on all the vaccines that they’re eligible for, like chickenpox and COVID-19, so that you can minimize any concern about other types of infections going forward.”