Baby diagnosed with monkeypox after mysterious rash baffles doctors

  • A baby contracted monkeypox in August, possibly following contact with an infected caregiver.
  • The two had “close daily contact” for several weeks before the child showed 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 the Florida emergency room with a raised red rash on his arms, legs and trunk.

Doctors weren’t sure what was going on with the child, and their routine tests for bacterial causes of the rash, as well as viruses including chicken pox, HIV and herpes, came up short. all tested 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 infant’s body, and many of the bumps had a distinctive dot in the center of them.

It must be molluscum contagiosum, the providers thought. It is a relatively common childhood infection transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, which usually does not require much treatment.

But over the next few days, the baby’s bumps began to fill with pus. The pox has spread to the child’s back, soles of the feet, face and eyelids. Providers decided to perform a different test, which confirmed, 10 days after the rash first appeared: it was actually monkeypox.

The case study, described Monday in a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), provides startling new details about how monkeypox can develop and present on a newborn’s body. In 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 infant, whose name and sex have not been released to protect the child’s identity, received both the antiviral drug tecovirimat (TPOXX) and an intravenous infusion of disease-fighting antibodies (called immunoglobulins or IVIG).

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

Pediatric monkeypox infections like this have been extremely rare in the current outbreak. Only 27 monkeypox infections have been diagnosed nationwide in children under 16 since the U.S. monkeypox outbreak began in the spring – that’s a tiny fraction of the nearly 23,500 monkeypox cases which have been officially documented so far.

What “Close Contact” Really Means: Daily Care, Handling, and Side-by-Side Sleeping

In this case, the baby likely contracted monkeypox from very close and 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 does not develop symptoms. During this time, baby shared sheets with Caregiver B, slept beside him, and had sustained skin-to-skin contact after being held and cared for daily.

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

As Dr. Daniel Pastula, a professor of neurology, infectious diseases 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 very close physical contact with each other, whether the contact is sexual in nature or not.

None of the baby’s three other caregivers contracted monkeypox. They all received the Jynneos vaccine and, 22 days later, none of them contracted the virus.

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