Breaking News
More () »

Monkeypox in schools: What is the risk?

With schools across Greater Houston starting back after summer, is monkeypox something parents should be concerned about?

HOUSTON — The latest report from the Texas Department of State Health Services shows there have been 701 cumulative cases of monkeypox in Texas. 

So far there have been no reports of the virus in Texas children, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports at least 5 cases among children across the United States.

With schools across Greater Houston starting back up for the year, is monkeypox something parents should be concerned about?  

“Right now, the risk to children, or the number of cases in children, has been extremely low,” said Dr. Stacey Rose, an assistant professor of infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine. “We are still seeing the majority of transmission related to sexual contact.”

RELATED: Houston-area health departments prepare to administer monkeypox vaccine via new method in effort to increase supply

“The virus can live on the surfaces of something like towels or bed linens,” Dr. Rose explained. 

Health officials warn that the virus can be spread in this manner, but say the chance of catching the virus from a doorknob, desk or other hard surface is low.

“I would say the good news is that because of COVID, a lot of daycares and schools implemented very frequent hygienic practices for high touch surfaces.”

Spring ISD Superintendent Dr. Lupita Jinohosa says that’s true for her district, and they’ll be, “cleaning and double cleaning those high touch areas."

RELATED: Yes, monkeypox can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, but current risk is low

Disinfectants like Clorox or Lysol should be sufficient, Dr. Rose said, and good hand hygiene can help too.

“So, I don’t think that parents need to be overly concerned,” Dr. Rose said, but added that parents and educators should still pay close attention.

“We need to air on the side of caution and say well, in the old days we would’ve called that [a rash] hand foot mouth disease on a kid, but now, our antennae should go up if you see a rash.”

Before You Leave, Check This Out