Confirmation of the first cases of monkeypox in children in the United States

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The first two U.S. cases of monkeypox in children have been confirmed in a record outbreak of more than 2,800 infections nationwide, a top health official said Friday.

The pediatric cases, detected this week in an infant and toddler, are likely the result of household transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky revealed the development in an interview with Washington Post Live on Friday.

The CDC and public health authorities are still investigating how the children became infected. The two cases are unrelated and fall under different jurisdictions, the agency said in a statement. The toddler is in California; the infant’s case was confirmed while the family was traveling to Washington, DC, but they do not reside there.

Walensky, in his interview, said the cases were linked to people from the men who have sex with men community. But investigations are ongoing to “know or understand” the connection to this community, another CDC official said.

“Although both children have symptoms of monkeypox, they are in good health” and are receiving antiviral treatment for the disease, the CDC said.

Since the outbreak began in May, the vast majority of monkeypox cases have occurred in men who are gay, bisexual, or who have sex with men. Officials point out that the pathogen can affect anyone in close contact with people with monkeypox, including children. However, they say they have yet to see evidence of sustained transmission outside of networks of men who have sex with men.

“I don’t think it’s surprising that we occasionally see cases in people who aren’t gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men. … The social networks we have as humans mean we have contact with a lot of different people,” Jennifer McQuiston, who leads the CDC’s monkeypox response, told reporters on Friday. “The main drivers of this infection in the United States currently remain the gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men communities. But we must continue to monitor this and we are ready to…respond.

Monkeypox is spread through close skin-to-skin contact, which – in the case of children – can include clothing, cuddling, feeding, as well as through shared objects such as towels, bedding, cups and cups. utensils. Health officials say respiratory spread is also possible, but usually over long periods of time, such as when someone lives in the same house as an infected person.

The rapid spread of monkeypox in the United States and other countries where it is not endemic, including the United Kingdom, Portugal and the Netherlands, has alarmed public health officials. The World Health Organization, which refrained from declaring the monkeypox outbreak a global emergency last month, has reconsidered that decision and is expected to announce on Saturday whether it will reverse course.

Efforts to track cases in the United States have been undermined by limited demographic data. Last week, CDC officials admitted they had details such as gender and age for only around 700 patients – less than half of the confirmed cases at the time. Of the cases with detailed information, 99% involved sexual activity between men, officials said Friday. A handful of transgender women and men also tested positive.

The median age of patients is around 36, with the oldest patient being 70, McQuiston said Friday.

Walensky said the agency expects cases to continue to rise through August due to increased testing and greater awareness and awareness among clinicians.

In most cases, monkeypox symptoms go away on their own within a few weeks. But for children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, the disease can lead to medical complications and even death, according to the WHO.

U.S. monkeypox missteps reflect early response to coronavirus, experts say

During the current outbreak, a few countries have confirmed a handful of monkeypox cases in people under the age of 18. The CDC’s European counterpart identified at least five cases on Wednesday. Spanish authorities announced on Wednesday that they had detected a case in a 7-month-old child.

In the UK, just one child tested positive for monkeypox out of nearly 2,200 confirmed cases on Wednesday. Health authorities said there was “no strong evidence of sustained transmission” outside of male same-sex sexual networks, while warning that the 13 female cases require close monitoring.

In the United States, health officials have made available a limited supply of monkeypox vaccines to prevent infections, or reduce the severity of illness after exposure. They reserve injections for those most at risk, usually sexually active gay and bisexual men, or those with known exposure. The US Department of Health and Human Services says the country will have 7 million doses by the middle of next year as additional shipments arrive.

The antiviral drug TPoxx is also available to treat people with severe cases, although patients and doctors have complained that it has been difficult to access due to an expensive process required by the federal government. The CDC announced on Friday that it was removing some requirements to make access easier.

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