Watch CBS News

Monkeypox infected a California toddler but major outbreak in kids unlikely

Monkeypox infected a California toddler but major outbreak in kids unlikely
Monkeypox infected a California toddler but major outbreak in kids unlikely 01:57

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- The first two cases of monkeypox in children have now been confirmed and one of those cases is a toddler from California.

That toddler was infected by someone close to the child, the California Department of Public Health confirmed. Even so, an expert who spoke to KPIX said a major monkeypox outbreak among children is unlikely.

Until now, this new strain of the monkeypox had been spreading mainly among a certain segment of the population.

"If you look at the epidemiology, it's heavily weighted at this time, though not exclusively to men who have sex with other men," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president's chief medical adviser.

"The likelihood of a child getting infected was very low but there's no reason why (monkeypox) couldn't infect children," said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado with Stanford Children's Health.

Dr. Maldonado says that, since you have to have extended contact with an infected person -- such as skin to skin contact, there's no need to be overly concerned.

"I think people need to be very careful about their contact with people who've been at high risk for exposure," Maldonado added. 

Dr. Maldonado says this latest strain of monkeypox has so far been less severe than previous strains.

The Centers for Disease Control says both children are taking antiviral medication but there's a lack of data from clinical trials for children taking that treatment. It's a similar story when it comes to vaccines.

"The studies for this vaccine was really done in adults so we don't have a lot of data in children and we need to generate more data there so we know what to do for kids," Dr. Maldonado said.

Dr. Maldonado credits scientists for having a vaccine available as monkeypox has spread in the United States.

As of Friday, the CDC reported nearly 2,900 cases in 44 states as well as the District of Colombia and Puerto Rico.

"We were just fortunate that vaccine -- the Jynneos vaccine which was the backup vaccine approved for smallpox -- also works well against all the other related viruses," Dr. Maldonado said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.