Riverside County health officials report first pediatric case of Monkeypox) in county

A child from western Riverside County is the first pediatric case of MPX (Monkeypox) in the county, according to local health officials.

The child, who is less than 10 years old, did not require hospitalization and is recovering at home. Officials from Riverside University Health System-Public Health were notified this week about the preliminary positive test results and are trying to determine the source of the infection.

“This case reminds everyone that MPX can impact anyone, regarding of age, gender or sexual orientation,” said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, public health officer for Riverside County.

Riverside County has reported about 256 probable/confirmed MPX cases in the county, the majority coming from the Coachella Valley. There have been a handful of cases reported in women.

In California, seven people under the age of 16 have tested positive for monkeypox, according to the state public health department.

There have been 256 confirmed and probable cases reported in Riverside County since the beginning of the pandemic, with four more reported Friday. A majority of cases have been among the 35 to 44 age group locally.

The cities in Riverside County with the most cases are Palm Springs (123), Cathedral City (34), Riverside (19), Desert Hot Springs (13), Corona (eight), Moreno Valley (seven), Palm Desert, Perris and Rancho Mirage (six each), and Indio (five), according to the county’s monkeypox dashboard.

Palm Springs area is at high risk given its large number of LGBTQ+ residents and tourists, according to health officials. The virus can infect anyone, but during the current U.S. outbreak, it has disproportionately affected men who have sex with men, a group that includes people who identify as gay, bisexual, transgender and nonbinary.

Symptoms can occur five to 21 days after exposure, and include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, rash and lesions often in the genital and perianal region. Illness typically lasts for two to four weeks.

Monkeypox spreads primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing, hugging, massaging, and cuddling. Monkeypox can spread through touching materials used by a person with monkeypox that haven’t been cleaned, such as clothing and bedding. It can also spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, close, face-to-face contact.

Health officials remind residents there are several ways to protect themselves from MPX, including:

  • Avoiding close contact with people with symptoms like sores or rashes
  • Practicing good hand hygiene
  • Using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) (like a mask, gown, and gloves) when caring for others with symptoms
  • Avoiding contact with infected materials contaminated with the virus
  • People who become infected should isolate until their symptoms are improving or have gone away completely.  Rash should always be well covered until completely healed.

Image Sources

  • Pediatric Monkeypox: Shutterstock