So far, 71 cases have been detected in the UK (Picture: Getty/Reuters)
Experts have urged parents not to worry about monkeypox, since cases in youngsters are so rare.
Medics also suggest rashes in children are more likely to be a result of chickenpox or hand, foot and mouth disease.
The calming intervention comes as the total number of cases confirmed in the UK rose to 71 earlier today.
One researchers who has been looking into the current outbreak and past cases explained: ‘As a parent with a child that might develop a rash, I don’t think parents should be worried about this being… monkeypox at this stage, because we’re seeing a very low number of cases.’
Dr David Porter, a paediatric infectious diseases consultant at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, continued: ‘And in all the previous outbreaks that have occurred outside of Africa over the last few years, we’ve seen very rare numbers of cases in children, so it’s been predominantly in adults anyway.
‘And without any contact history with somebody that’s known or strongly felt to have monkeypox, and then if you’ve got a rash at this time of year when we’ve seen lots of rashes from chickenpox and other things in children, hand, foot and mouth disease, then that’s what it’s likely to be.’
He added that parents whose children who develop a rash but have no contact history with someone who tested positive for monkeypox should be reassured that they are unlikely to have the virus – and follow what they would normally do.
It is hoped that the antiviral tecovirimat could lessen the impact of monkeypox (Picture: Reuters)
Dr Porter’s comments came as the results of a small study that looked at seven cases of monkeypox in the UK between 2018 and 2021 were revealed.
The findings, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, suggest that transmission within the UK has occurred in household and healthcare settings but has been limited.
The study also looked at the effectiveness of two antiviral treatments developed for smallpox, brincidofovir and tecovirimat.
Researchers suggested that the latter might shorten the duration of monkeypox symptoms and cut the period that a patient is contagious for.
They explained that the drug would be given on a case-by-case basis, and in their study it was given to a mum who needed to be out of hospital quickly to come home to her daughter.
A monkeypox rash (Picture: TNS)
Author Hugh Adler, from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, said: ‘While the study size was small, the data gleaned from the seven cases were rich, providing the team with novel insights and suggesting the direction of travel for future research.
‘We hope this dataset will inform clinicians caring for patients with monkeypox across the UK and Europe, but also in West and Central Africa where there is an unmet need for treatments for this infection.’
One expert suggested this week that the outbreak is likely to have started after sex at two raves in Europe.
And data suggests transmission is occurring between people in the UK, with a large proportion of cases identified in gay and bisexual male community.
However, researchers say there is no clear argument for vaccinating this population.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
A rash will usually appear between one to five days after infection – generally beginning on the face before spreading.
The rash is sometimes confused with chickenpox.
It starts as raised spots, which turn into small blisters filled with fluid. These blisters eventually form scabs that later fall off.
Between one and 21 days after infection, you may experience the following symptoms:
- High temperature
- Muscle aches
- Swollen glands
All in all, symptoms can last around two to four weeks.
You can read more about monkeypox here.
Dr Jake Dunning, consultant in infectious diseases and High consequence infectious diseases (HCID), Royal Free Hospital, said: ‘We don’t have enough of the signal yet to say that is the correct thing to do, to offer vaccinations to all men who have sex with men.
‘This is on the basis that currently they make up a large proportion of the cases that we’re seeing and the challenge is you need data to inform that sort of decision.’
The most likely route of monkeypox transmission is close physical contact, touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with the monkeypox rash, or touching monkeypox skin blisters or scabs.
There is a smaller risk of it being spread through coughs and sneezes, and as prolonged face-to-face contact would be needed, this is not one of the main routes of transmission for the monkeypox virus.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check our news page.