No monkeypox cases, says Washington elementary official

WASHINGTON, Pa. — A Washington School District official said there are no cases of monkeypox at Washington Park Elementary.

Families were notified Monday that four students suspected of having the virus had been sent home and tested at Washington Hospital.

According to Superintendent George Lammay, the school was sanitized and parents of students identified as being in close contact with the potentially infected students received a separate notice.

Lammay said the monkeypox test came back negative for all four students.

State health officials say monkeypox is extremely rare in children and there have been zero confirmed cases of kids under 15 years old in Pennsylvania. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been 27 cases in children across the country and 24,000 cases in adults.

Lammay says he wanted to alert parents not to scare them, but for full transparency. “The hard thing from my perspective is being communicative without created chaos.”

Lammay says monkeypox is just one of the tests the children had done. “We included monkeypox in the initial release in addition other skin conditions, including MRSA, it could be staph, this could be strep or it could be monkeypox they are testing for all of that.”

Barbara Nightingale, the deputy director of clinical services for the Allegheny County Health Department, encourages parents to check with your child’s pediatrician if they have a concerning rash.

“It’s very rare, and generally not something parents should be worried about if your child has a rash. There are a lot of common childhood diseases that look really, really similar so I’d just encourage them to see a health care provider.”

Nightingale says the rash looks similar to other rashes and even pimples. “They kind of look like pimples.... it can range from just a couple, to many. Typically, they are itchy but sometimes painful.”