A baby diagnosed with monkey pox after a mysterious rash baffled doctors

  • One baby contracted monkeypox in August, likely from contact with an infected caregiver.
  • The two had “daily close contact” for several weeks before the boy showed any signs of infection.
  • The baby was treated with TPOXX and IV antibody therapy (IVIG) and made a full recovery.

In August, a two-month-old baby presented to a Florida emergency room with a raised red rash on his arms, legs, and trunk.

Doctors weren’t sure what was going on with the boy, and his routine tests for bacterial causes of the rash, as well as viruses such as chicken pox, HIV and herpes, came back negative.

When the baby returned to the ER two days later, that rash, now a week old, had turned into smallpox-like lesions all over the baby’s body, and many of the bumps had a distinctive spot in the center.

This must be molluscum contagiosum, providers thought. It is a relatively common childhood infection that is spread by skin-to-skin contact and usually does not require much treatment.

But over the next few days, the baby’s bumps began to fill with pus. Smallpox spread over the boy’s back, soles of feet, face and eyelids. The providers decided to run a different test, which was confirmed, 10 days after the initial appearance of the rash: it was actually monkey pox.

The case study, described Monday in a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides vivid new details about how monkeypox can develop and present itself in an infant’s body. Analyzing the case, CDC officials explain how the newborn contracted the virus and stress that this is a rare event in the current outbreak.

The child was treated with antivirals and antibodies

The baby, whose name and gender were not released to protect the child’s identity, received both the antiviral drug tecovirimat (TPOXX) and an IV drip of disease-fighting antibodies (called immunoglobulin, or IVIG).

The boy did not develop a fever, “tolerated treatments well and made a full recovery,” CDC disease researchers said Monday in their new report.

Childhood chickenpox infections like this have been very rare in the current outbreak. Only 27 monkeypox infections have been diagnosed nationwide in children younger than 16 since the U.S. smallpox outbreak began in the spring, a tiny fraction of the nearly 23,500 cases of monkeypox that ‘have officially documented so far.

What “close contact” really means: daily care, holding and sleeping next to each other

In this case, the baby probably got monkeypox from very close, sustained, daily contact with one of his four primary caregivers.

The man, identified only as “Caregiver B” in the new CDC report, had developed a fever, blood in his urine, as well as a visible rash on his body during the three-week period before the baby developed any symptoms. During this time, the infant shared bed sheets with Caregiver B, slept next to him, and had sustained skin-to-skin contact from being held and cared for every day.

Caregiver B tested positive for orthopox virus (probably also monkeypox) two days after the baby tested positive.

As Dr. Daniel Pastula, a professor of neurology, infectious disease and epidemiology at the University of Colorado and the Colorado School of Public Health, previously told Insider, monkeypox can spread between people who are in physical contact very close between them, either the contact. is it sexual in nature or not.

None of the other three caretakers of the baby became ill with monkeypox. They all received the Jynneos vaccine and, up to 22 days later, none of them have contracted the virus.

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