Florida officials have reported the state’s first case of monkeypox in a child under four – the seventh nationwide – as fears the virus could spread to more vulnerable groups continue to grow.
Martin County, about 100 miles north of Miami along the east coast of Sunshine State, reported the case of an unnamed child on Monday. The case happened during the last week. The current condition of the child and the severity of the case are unknown.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that children under the age of eight are among the most vulnerable to serious complications or death from monkeypox.
This is the first case among this age group found in Florida. One was reported Friday by officials in Maine, while others were confirmed in California, Indiana and a non-resident traveling through Washington DC.
While cases so far have mostly been concentrated among gay and bisexual men in the country’s monkeypox outbreak, everyone is vulnerable to infection. The virus spreads through physical contact with an infected person, making any close contact a potential transmission event.
The monkeypox epidemic in the United States has intensified in recent weeks. The United States has had 11,890 confirmed infections, the most of any country in the world, including 713 on Monday. More than half of the cases were recorded in August alone. No deaths in the United States have been linked to the virus.
How the Florida child contracted the virus and what symptoms he may have experienced are currently unknown to the public.
With the rampant spread of the virus in recent weeks, it is likely that more cases in young children will likely be discovered.
Florida is a leading state in confirmed monkeypox infections, having recorded 1,085 as of Monday afternoon.
Confirmed infections in the Sunshine State rose last week from 633 on Monday August 8 to hit the four-digit mark on Wednesday August 17.
Only two other states have recorded more than 1,000 confirmed cases. New York alone accounts for more than a fifth of the country’s outbreak, having recorded 2,376 infections so far.
California has also recorded 1,945 cases so far. Texas will likely join the questionable group this week, as Longhorn State sits at 992 cases as of Monday afternoon.
Many officials fear those numbers will continue to rise as the outbreak spirals out of control, and potentially into the next pandemic.
Dr. Joseph Eisenberg, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, said in an interview last week that he believed the erupting virus would become the next pandemic in the United States, but that it would not reach the same highs as COVID-19.
“Monkeypox is the next pandemic,” he said.
“It is spreading globally in several countries, including the United States. In the United States, cases are rapidly increasing in the thousands.
“It is however a different type of pandemic than we see in Covid, because it is much less infectious and it currently affects a specific risk group which involves very close and intimate contact. And so, yes, it’s a pandemic, but it’s nothing like the Covid pandemic.
However, not everyone agrees that the situation is so serious. Dr. Andrew Brouwer, an assistant researcher at Michigan’s School of Public Health, pushed back on the same interview.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened our awareness of disease transmission. Other outbreaks… have received far less attention,” he said.
“That’s not to say we should let MPV and other outbreaks fly under the radar, but we should have some perspective that outbreaks of various diseases are happening all the time and not all of them are existential threats.”
Brouwer, however, believes the increased attention to the virus is helping to combat it, making the average more aware of its spread and how to spot a potential case.
Authorities, however, appear to have been caught off guard by this outbreak, leading to an initial shortage of tests and a lack of vaccine supply that still hamper the response.
When jabs became available in major population centers like New York, appointments were filled within minutes due to extremely high demand.
In order to quell the shortage of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine, federal authorities plan to issue vaccine doses that are only 0.1 milliliters (ml) – a massive drop from the standard 0.5 ml dose.
They believe using an intradermal injection – which delivers the vaccine between layers of skin rather than under the fat in the skin – will ensure the vaccine is just as effective.
But there are questions as to whether this is the right decision.
In 2015, researchers found that smallpox vaccines were just as effective when given in lower doses if the injection was done intradermally.
However, this was only one study with 524 participants and using a different vaccine.
Paul Chaplin, CEO of Jynneos maker Bavarian Nordic, has released an open letter to Dr Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and Dr Robert Califf, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, expressing concerns about lack of data to support planning.
The Danish pharmaceutical giant is calling for more trials to be carried out on the effectiveness of lower doses before the country revises its vaccine strategy.
Currently, the injections are mainly reserved for men who have sex with men – although some exposed people have been granted the injection as a precaution.
Origin: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk