CDC Says Schools Do Not Need New Monkeypox Guidelines

CDC Says Schools Do Not Need New Monkeypox Guidelines

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.

Children exposed to monkeypox in a childcare facility do not need to stay home if they do not show symptoms. Schools should notify staff and parents to inquire about the illness and address health concerns.
When a child develops symptoms, they should isolated until the lesions formed by the virus have healed, “have fallen off, and a fresh layer of healthy skin has formed,” which could take up to four weeks.

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.”

“For back to school, I think there’s still very, very, very low risk,” Chang said. “One, the probability of any one child going to school with active monkeypox is very low. And two, the amount of exposure you would need for it to spread within a school is probably … you’re probably never going to achieve that.”
The good news is that most children who contract monkeypox recover well without any treatment, and complications are rare. However, he noted that most data came from areas where the virus is endemic.

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.”

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