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Back-to-school amid multiple infectious diseases

Pediatric expert can address monkeypox, COVID-19, polio questions

CHICAGO --- Between the recently relaxed COVID-19 guidelines, reports of increasing cases of monkeypox and polio being found in New York City wastewater, students heading back to school and their parents might have questions about their risk levels and what precautionary measures to take.

Dr. Tina Tan, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine professor of pediatrics in infectious disease, is available to speak to media to help address these questions. She also is a pediatrician at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Contact Kristin Samuelson at to arrange an interview.

Additionally, Lurie Children’s infectious disease physician Dr. Larry Kociolek and pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Kusma will host a Facebook Live to answer reporter and parent questions about monkeypox on Wednesday, August 17, at 10 a.m. CST. To watch, visit


Dr. Tan can explain:

  • How to spot a monkeypox rash and its other symptoms
  • The kinds of surfaces monkeypox can live on (linens and towels, not swings and desks, she said)
  • Monkeypox vaccine and the recent attempt to administer it subcutaneously to increase supply
  • Who is at risk (those in intimate settings; people with eczema, other skin diseases)
  • What precautionary measures students and parents can/should be taking
  • How big of a threat monkeypox is for daycare and school settings right now

“It’s going to be much less likely to spread in a school setting,” Tan said. “It’s not like with COVID-19 where people can be asymptomatic. If they have a rash, they’re going home. And you really have to think about if this person has had a significant exposure. It’s not going to just jump on you. You have to be exposed to someone.”


Dr. Tan can speak to:

  • The importance of vaccination
  • How much of the population at each age range has been vaccinated
  • The new guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Where we currently stand in the pandemic 

“COVID is not gone and will be with us probably forever,” Tan said. “There was a big push to get this most recent age group’s (6 months to 5 years) vaccine out there and then there has been terrible uptake. If you haven’t been vaccinated, you need to get it because it’s the best way to protect yourself and your children.”


 Dr. Tan can speak to:

  • If this is a threat, given recent news reports

“If your kids are up to date on their vaccines, they should be protected,” she said.