The first juvenile case of monkeypox in New York City has been reported to the health department, officials confirmed to Gothamist on Friday — it is the second juvenile case reported so far in the state.
City health officials said a member of the child’s household also had monkeypox.
“While we understand the concerns of families, we also know that the overall risk of exposure for children in the city remains very low,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said on Thursday in a written statement.
So far, the city has recorded almost 2,900 cases of the viral disease, although that is likely an undercount. New cases peaked in late July and health department data now shows about 40 new confirmed infections per day on average.
Anyone can get monkeypox, but the current outbreak has mainly affected cisgender men who have sex with men. A number of cisgender women, transgender New Yorkers, and nonbinary New Yorkers have also been affected. The virus spreads through close contact with skin, rashes, and respiratory droplets. It can also be transmitted via clothing or bedding used by an infected person.
Pediatric monkeypox cases are extremely rare. So far, out of nearly 17,000 confirmed infections, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded only 17 cases in people under the age of 16.
The news comes less than two weeks before New York City schools reopen for the 2022-2023 school year. The city’s health department recommends that schools stock up on soap, paper towels, and hand sanitizer, and follow special protocols to disinfect surfaces if a person tests positive for the virus.
Right now, New Yorkers under the age of 18 are not eligible for the monkeypox vaccine unless they’ve been exposed to the virus. According to the CDC, getting vaccinated after exposure to monkeypox can help prevent illness. .