Monkeypox outbreak declared national emergency

[anvplayer video=”5126968″ station=”998128″]

(ABC 6 News) – Thursday, the Biden Administration officially declared the monkeypox outbreak a national health emergency. This comes after the World Health Organization declared an emergency almost two weeks ago.

The global case count of monkeypox stands at 26,000 and more than 6,600 of those cases are in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At least five children in the U.S. have tested positive for Monkeypox so far. With school around the corner, many parents say they need more information in order to keep their kids safe and healthy.

"I would just be curious like how much contact, for how long, like [more about] the duration. How it’s spread in detail would be questions that I would like to be answered," said local mom, Kate Binder. Binder’s daughter, Evelyn, is two and about to start preschool this fall.

Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, though that is the most common way the virus is spread. However, it is not the only way.

"It is transmitted through very close skin-to-skin contact," explained Dr. Nipuni Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic.

Dr. Rajapakse says it can be contracted from things like hugging, kissing, or even sharing bedding or close.

The national health emergency declaration allows for more access to data and resources, but does not speed up vaccines, which are in short supply.

"If they said it was something that could be a threat to children or it’s something that they do recommend getting a vaccination for, then I definitely would get them vaccinated," Binder said.

If you or your child develops any kind of rash, Dr. Rajapakse urges getting it checked out by your pediatrician, and staying on top of symptoms. She says there are pictures of the rash on the CDC website and being able to distinguish it from other rashes is helpful for parents.

"I mean we know how bad smallpox was, like monkeypox as I understand isn’t quite there yet, but it’s not something you wanna mess with," Eric Lanigan said. Lanigan’s daughter, Aurora, is also starting preschool in Sept. and adds he intends to get her vaccinated for the infection when he is more up-to-date on information.

There is a monkeypox vaccine, but more work and funding is still needed to make that widely available. In the meantime, doctors are recommending parents make sure their kids have their other childhood vaccines, like measles and chickenpox, to keep them healthy.