I’m a doctor – here’s how to tell if your child’s rash is really monkeypox

INFECTIONS of monkeypox are spreading globally and Brits have been warned to be on the lookout for rashes and lesions.

A child in London is known to have contracted the illness, with many parents now worrying about marks their children are coming home with.

Monkeypox is a mild illness which gets better with time, in very rare cases it can lead to death.

It's most prevalent in parts of west or central Africa, but cases have now been detected globally.

Now one medic has revealed how you can tell if your child's rash is really monkeypox – or if it's down to something else entirely.

Paediatric infectious diseases consultant at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, Dr David Porter said parents should not worry about their children having monkeypox as cases in youngsters are rare.

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So far in the UK 71 cases of the virus have been detected, after the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) last night revealed 14 more infections.

One child in London is in intensive care, and symptoms are thought to be the same in youngsters as they are in adults.

Dr Porter said parents should be reassured to follow what they would usually do if their child has a rash – unless a child has had known contacted with someone who has the illness.

"As a parent with a child that might develop a rash, I don’t think parents should be worried about this being…monkeypox at this stage, because we’re seeing a very low number of cases.

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UK detects another 14 cases of monkeypox – taking total to 71

“And in all the previous outbreaks that have occurred outside of Africa over the last few years, we’ve seen very rare numbers of cases in children, so it’s been predominantly in adults anyway.

“And without any contact history with somebody that’s known or strongly felt to have monkeypox, and then if you’ve got a rash at this time of year when we’ve seen lots of rashes from chickenpox and other things in children, hand, foot and mouth disease, then that’s what it’s likely to be," he explained.

When it comes to the difference between rashes, it's the symptoms that sit alongside the illness that are different.

If your child has chickenpox rather than monkeypox, they will also suffer aches and pains, as well as a loss of appetite which is not a key symptom of monkeypox.

The rashes are similar, but a chickenpox rash usually looks more inflamed, and is harder to spot on darker skin.

Symptoms for hand foot and mouth are similar to chickenpox, but they vary from monkeypox in that usually, patients will have mouth ulcers which also appear on the tongue.


As a parent, medics say adults are more likely to get the illness than children.

So if you get it and are looking after your little one, there is the likelihood – as with any illness that you could pass it on to them.

Dr Susan Hopkins, a chief medical adviser at the UKHSA, said the illness is "relatively mild" in adults, with young children thought to be more at risk.

Initial symptoms are usually "non-specific", Dr Hopkins said, and are like "a viral illness".

A chickenpox-type rash later spreads across parts of the body.

The rash usually affects the face, hands and arms, but can spread to genital areas.

"It starts as red spots and moves to vesicles – those are blister-type lesions that are a bit like chickenpox," Dr Hopkins said.

"They scab over and once the scabs have fallen off, they're no longer infectious."

Medics say the fatality rate in children is between 1 per cent and 15 per cent.

People who have contracted monkeypox will usually start to experience symptoms five to 21 days after initial infection.

Most of the time, children will experience the same symptoms as adults.

If you think your little one is unwell then you should always seek medical attention.

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The NHS says the first signs of the illness are:

  1. High temperature
  2. Headache
  3. Muscle aches
  4. Backache
  5. Swollen glands
  6. Shivering (chills)
  7. Exhaustion

They added that a rash usually appears one to five days after the symptoms.

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