Is monkeypox worse in children? How severe virus is explained

Monkeypox cases in the UK continue to rise, with close contacts of confirmed cases being advised to isolate for three weeks

There are currently 101 cases in England, three cases in Scotland, one in Wales and one in Northern Ireland, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said.

A further 16 additional cases of monkeypox were confirmed in England on Friday (May 27), bringing the UK total to 106.

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A rash usually begins one to five days after the first monkeypox symptoms appear

But is monkeypox worse in children than in adults?

Here’s what you need to know.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

  • high temperature
  • headache
  • Muscle cramp
  • back pain
  • swollen glands
  • chills
  • exhaustion

A rash usually sets in one to five days after the first symptoms appear. The spots often start on the face before spreading to other parts of the body.

Then, as the disease progresses, the rash changes from raised red bumps to fluid-filled patches, with the patches eventually forming crusts that later fall off.

Is monkeypox worse in children?

Martin Michaelis, a professor of molecular medicine at the University of Kent, said monkeypox may pose a greater risk to children because children are “particularly susceptible to the disease and have not been vaccinated against smallpox”.

This is echoed by Hussain Abdeh, clinical director and chief pharmacist at Medicine Direct, who said more severe cases of monkeypox often affect children.

However, he added that the severe cases in children are related to how long they have been exposed to the virus and how healthy the child was before contracting it.

People with a weaker than average immune system are also at higher risk.

He added that it has also been suggested that people under the age of 40 may be more susceptible to the condition “because they haven’t been vaccinated against smallpox”, but this depends on the country.

Mr Abdeh said that although the death rate from monkeypox is generally higher in children, it is important to remember that the death rate from monkeypox is “generally low”, even in areas where the disease is more severe.

The mortality rate has been around 3-6% lately.

However, Mr Abdeh added that monkeypox is not usually a serious problem in the UK and usually clears up within a few weeks with treatment.

Researchers who have looked at the current monkeypox outbreak, as well as previous cases of the disease, have also said that the virus is rare in children.

dr David Porter, Advisor for Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As a parent with a child who could develop a rash, I don’t think parents should be concerned that at this stage it is… monkeypox , because we see a very small number of cases.

“And in all previous outbreaks that have occurred outside of Africa in recent years, we’ve seen a very rare number of cases in children, so it’s been mostly adults anyway.”

He added that when children have a rash and are out of contact with someone who has had monkeypox, parents and caregivers should rest easy and follow what they normally do. Is monkeypox worse in children? How severe virus is explained


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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