There have been more than 14,000 cases of the disease in more than 60 countries
Cases of the viral monkeypox disease in the United States have been identified for the first time in children — a toddler in California and a baby who does not live in the US, health authorities said Friday.
The two cases are unrelated and likely result from household transmission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement. The agency said the children are in good health and are being treated.
Monkeypox, which causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, has largely spread among men who have sex with men during the recent outbreak, outside the countries of West and Central Africa where it is endemic. The disease spreads mainly through close contact. read more
So far this year there have been more than 14,000 cases of monkey pox in more than 60 countries and five deaths in Africa so far.
During a conference call, Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the CDC’s Division of Pathogens and Pathology with High Consequences, said it’s no surprise that pediatric cases of monkeypox have surfaced, but “there is no evidence to date that we Seeing this virus spread beyond” the communities of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
She said 99 percent of the 2,891 cases of monkeypox confirmed in the United States involved men who have sex with men, but a handful of women and transgender men have become infected.
dr. Ashish Jha, White House Covid-19 response coordinator, speaking on the same call, said the government has delivered 300,000 doses of a monkeypox vaccine and is working to expedite shipments from Denmark of 786,000 more doses.
He said there is already enough vaccine available to give a first vaccine dose to more than half of the eligible population in New York City and more than 70% of the eligible population in Washington D.C.
The death rate in previous outbreaks in Africa of the current strain was about 1 percent, but so far this outbreak appears to be less lethal in the non-endemic countries. However, a number of patients have reported being hospitalized due to severe pain.
Jha said the US is still evaluating whether the monkeypox outbreak should be declared a public health emergency. “We’re looking at that, looking at the ways in which the response can be improved, if any, by declaring a public health emergency.”