Monkeypox: 2 children, including CA toddler, diagnosed with virus in US, CDC says

NEW YORK — Two children in the United States have been diagnosed with monkeypox, health officials said on Friday.

One is a toddler in California and the other is an infant who is not based in the US but has been tested, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington, DC.

The children were described as being in good health and being treated. How they contracted the disease is under investigation, but officials believe it was domestic transmission.

Other details were not immediately disclosed.

Monkeypox is endemic in parts of Africa, but this year more than 15,000 cases have been reported in countries where the disease has not historically been found. In the US and Europe, the vast majority of infections have occurred in men who have sex with men, although health officials have stressed that anyone can contract the virus.

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In addition to the two pediatric cases, health officials said they were aware of at least eight women among the more than 2,500 U.S. cases reported to date.

While the virus has spread primarily among men who have sex with men, “I don’t think it’s surprising that we occasionally see cases outside of this social network,” the CDC’s Jennifer McQuiston told reporters Friday.

Officials said the virus could spread through close personal contact, as well as through towels and bedding. That means it can happen at home, likely through prolonged or intense contact, said Dr. James Lawler, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

“People don’t crawl on each other’s beds unless they live in the same house or family,” he said.
There have been at least six cases of monkeypox in children aged 17 and younger in Europe.

This week, doctors in the Netherlands published a report of a boy seen in an Amsterdam hospital with around 20 reddish-brown bumps on his body. It was monkeypox, and the doctors said they couldn’t tell how he got it.

In Africa, monkeypox infections are more common in children, and doctors have found a higher proportion of severe cases and deaths in young children.

One reason might be that many older adults were vaccinated against smallpox as children, which likely gives them some protection against the related monkeypox virus, Lawler said. Smallpox vaccinations were discontinued when the disease was eradicated about 40 years ago.


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Dais Johnston

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