White House health officials on Friday said at least two pediatric cases of monkeypox have been confirmed as cases continue to rise.
Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), first shared news of the cases during a Washington Post live interview on Friday. According to the CDC director, both cases originated from an individual who identifies as part of the men who have sex with men community.
“While both children have monkeypox symptoms, they are in good health,” Walensky said, adding that the children are receiving antiviral treatments.
These are the first confirmed pediatric cases since the monkeypox outbreak began in May. The majority of cases so far have been among men who have sex with men.
Capt. Jennifer McQuiston, a veterinarian and deputy director of the CDC’s division of high consequence pathogens and pathology, said during a briefing on Friday authorities first became aware of these cases this week.
“We’ve been working with the jurisdictions to understand more about these cases and the investigations are still in the early phase and ongoing so we don’t have a lot of details on them,” said McQuiston.
McQuiston said she did not find it surprising that cases were found outside of the community that has mainly been affected by the virus — men who have sex with men. She noted that a handful of cisgender women have been confirmed to have monkeypox cases, though the majority have still been found in the social networks of men who have sex with men.
“The message from the start has been that there could be cases that are outside those networks and that we need to be vigilant for it and ready to respond and message about it,” McQuiston, further noting that pediatric cases have already been reported in Europe.