First cases of baby monkeypox in the US include a toddler in California

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

Both children likely acquired the infection from other family members, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement, though the causes are being investigated.

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

“Because monkeypox is spread through close physical contact, it is not unusual that people living in the same household cannot isolate themselves to contract the virus,” the department said.

The California case was not related to another case of pediatric monkeypox involving a non-U.S. resident infant who was infected in another state, the CDC said.

Both cases are related to gays, said CDC director Rochelle Walensky. Washington Post live interview The Thursday during which cases were first announced. The virus, which spreads primarily through close skin contact, circulates primarily among men who have sex with men, as well as transgender and non-binary people.

“When we saw these cases in children, they tended to be near the most-at-risk community,” Walensky said, adding that both children “do well” and are receiving the antiviral treatment tecovirimat, known as TPOXX.

While health officials stress that the virus is rare and does not pose a threat to the general public, LGBTQ activists and health leaders demanded a more aggressive response from health authorities which they say left their community unprepared for its spread, pointing to vaccine shortages and a lack of awareness.

Although federal officials have promised Los Angeles County more vaccines, experts still say supply has not matched demand.

In San Francisco, the queue for Jynneos’ two-shot vaccine, the main option in the US, ran into the thousands.

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

Cases have already flared up across California, especially in San Francisco and Los Angeles, coinciding with Pride events. At the end of June, about 40 cases of monkeypox were reported in California. This week, that number has risen to 434.

Monkeypox was confirmed or thought likely in 147 people in Los Angeles County alone, up nearly 80% from a week earlier. according to county data. The number of cases in San Francisco has more than doubled in the past week, rising to 197 on Friday.

The virus has not resulted in deaths in the US; symptoms include severe pain and visible lesions on the skin, as well as a rash that may look like pimples or blisters that often first appear in the genital area. Symptoms can last up to a month.

Although anyone who comes into close skin-to-skin contact with an infected person can contract the virus, it is more easily transmitted during sex or close face-to-face contact, such as kissing.

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

Times Staff Writer Grace Toohey contributed to this report.