Monkeypox is more severe in children, recognize the symptoms!

21 June 2022

The monkeypox virus case is an unusual occurrence. The World Health Organization (WHO) recorded at least 780 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the world as of Sunday, June 5, 2022 which was reported outside endemic countries such as West and Central Africa.WHO also said the level of global health risk...

The monkeypox virus case is an unusual occurrence. The World Health Organization (WHO) recorded at least 780 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the world as of Sunday, June 5, 2022 which was reported outside endemic countries such as West and Central Africa.

WHO also said the level of global health risk related to monkeypox was still in the moderate category. But it is considered very likely that the number of cases is higher than reported due to the lack of laboratory tests. In addition to Europe and North America, countries such as Argentina, Australia, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates have recorded outbreaks of monkeypox, but each has only recorded one case.

So far, monkeypox has not been detected in Indonesia. Even so, that does not mean we can let our guards down. Monkeypox has the worst impact on children. In some cases, the severity is higher than that of adults with monkeypox. Just in case, it would be good to get to know a bit about monkeypox. Check out the following information.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958. There was an outbreak that was similar to an outbreak in monkey colonies that were kept for research. That is why it was named monkeypox.

The spread of this disease in humans was only detected in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Since then monkeypox has been reported in humans in other central and western African countries but rarely spread outside of the African continent.

Monkeypox signs and symptoms

The incubation period, which is the time from infection to the onset of monkeypox symptoms, is usually from 6 to 13 days. But it can also range from 5 to 21 days. Infection can be divided into two periods:

A. Invasion period (lasts between 0–5 days)

At this time people who are exposed to monkeypox will experience the following symptoms:

• Fever above 38 degrees Celsius

• Severe headache

• Lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes)

• Back pain

• Myalgia (muscle pain)

• Severe asthenia (lack of energy).

B. Period of skin eruption

It usually begins within 1-3 days after the appearance of the fever. The main symptom in this phase is the appearance of a skin rash. The rash first appears on the face and then spreads to the rest of the body, such as palms of the hands, soles of the feet, mucous membranes of the mouth, genitals, and conjunctiva (thin mucous membrane that lines the inner surface of the eyelids and the anterior surface of the eye). However, the face and the palms of hand and feet are the areas most affected by this rash. The rash forming usually starts with spots which then turn into vesicles or blisters filled with fluid, pustules (blisters filled with yellowish fluid) and then dry up to form crusts (scabs) on the skin.

How is Monkeypox Transmitted to Humans?

Quoted from the Indonesian Ministry of Health page, transmission between humans is through contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions from infected people, or contaminated objects. Transmission also occurs through the placenta from mother to fetus or contact during delivery. However, sexual transmission is still unclear so further research is needed.

Is it really worse in children?

Yes. Although monkeypox can heal by itself, the cases can be more severe in children, and also depending on patient's health status, the severity of complications, and the level of exposure to the virus. Monkeypox can cause death, which occurs in less than 10 percent of reported cases. Most cases of death from monkeypox occur in children.

How to Prevent Monkeypox?

No need to be overtly worry because monkeypox can be prevented in several ways, such as:

1. Implement clean and healthy living behaviors, such as frequently washing hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer every time you leave the house, before playing with your little ones, before breastfeeding, and before doing any activities that makes you in contact with your little one.

2. Avoid direct contact with mice or primates and limit direct exposure to blood or meat that is not cooked properly.

3. Avoid physical contact with infected people or contaminated materials, including bedding or clothing that the patient has worn.

4. Avoid contact with wild animals or consume bush meat.

5. Travelers who have just returned from monkeypox-infected areas should immediately have themselves checked if they experience symptoms of sudden high fever, enlarged lymph nodes and skin rash, within less than 3 weeks after returning, and inform health workers about their travel history.


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