First child monkeypox cases in U.S. include toddler in California

Public health officials on Friday announced the first cases of monkeypox in children in the United States, including a toddler living in California and an infant living in another state.

Both children were likely infected by others in their household, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement, although the causes are being investigated.

The California child was in close contact with an adult who had been infected with the virus in the same household, a spokesman for the California Department of Health said in a statement.

“Because monkeypox is spread through close physical contact, it is not uncommon for people living in the same household who are unable to isolate to contract the virus,” the department said.

The California case was unrelated to the other pediatric case of monkeypox, which involved an infant who is not a resident of the United States and was infected in another state, the CDC said.

Both cases have ties to gay men, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a livestream interview with The Washington Post Thursday, where the cases were first announced. The virus, which spreads primarily through close skin-to-skin contact, circulates primarily among men who have sex with men, as well as transgender and non-binary people.

“When we’ve seen these cases in children, they’ve generally been around the most vulnerable community,” Walensky said, adding that both children are “doing well” and are on antiviral treatment with tecovirimate, known as TPOXX. receive.

While health officials have stressed that the virus is rare and not a threat to the general public, LGBTQ activists and health leaders have called for a more aggressive response from public health officials, who they say have left their community unprepared for its spread, indicating a lack of vaccines and lack of awareness.

Though federal officials have promised Los Angeles County more vaccines, experts still say supply is lagging behind demand.

In San Francisco, the waiting list for Jynneos’ two-shot vaccine, the primary option in the US, was in the thousands.

Walenksy said she expects the number of cases to rise in August as federal officials look to expand testing and increase the amount of information shared with local providers.

Cases coinciding with Pride events have already emerged across California, particularly in San Francisco and Los Angeles. At the end of June there were about 40 known cases of monkeypox in California. As of this week, that number has risen to 434.

Monkeypox has been confirmed or suspected in 147 people in Los Angeles County alone, up nearly 80% from a week earlier, according to county data. Cases in San Francisco have more than doubled over the past week, rising to 197 on Friday.

The virus has not caused any deaths in the US; Symptoms include severe pain and visible lesions on the skin, as well as a rash that can appear like pimples or blisters, often appearing on the genitals first. Symptoms can last up to a month.

Although anyone who comes in close skin-to-skin contact with an infected person can get the virus, it’s more easily transmitted during sex or through close personal contact, such as kissing.

Most cases of monkeypox in the United States known to the CDC involve people who have recently traveled or have been in close contact with someone who has been infected.

Times contributor Grace Toohey contributed to this report. First child monkeypox cases in U.S. include toddler in California

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