A pregnant woman has tested positive for monkeypox in the United States, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed.
The woman has now given birth to her baby, who does not appear to have caught the virus that causes the rash from the mother.
The CDC has released limited information about the case, including where in the U.S. the woman was based. It is also unclear when the woman was infected or exactly when she gave birth.
Health officials said both were “doing well,” but the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned on Tuesday that a pregnant woman could face “profound risk” from the virus.
An antenatal doctor told DailyMail.com that women in the early stages of pregnancy face the greatest risk of monkeypox. The mother may have been in the final stages of pregnancy at the time of infection, as she had recently given birth.
The newborn received immunoglobin, an infusion of antibodies capable of fighting diseases including monkeypox, officials said. It is unclear what treatment the mother received.
It is the first infection detected in a pregnant woman in the United States and comes after America reported its first two infections in children last week. The pediatric cases were unrelated and were identified in California and Washington DC
There are currently 3,591 confirmed monkeypox infections in the Americas, the second largest outbreak in the world behind Spain’s 3,738 cases.
The image above shows the spread of monkeypox cases across the United States. New York currently has the most infections, followed by California and Illinois
The US currently has the second largest monkeypox epidemic in the world, behind Spain, which was one of the first countries to be hit by the disease.
America reports the first case of monkeypox in a pregnant woman in the United States. The image above shows cells infected with monkeypox virus (red dots)
Dr. John Brooks, the lead physician in the CDC’s response to monkeypox, revealed the case during a Saturday webinar with the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
“There was a case of a pregnant woman who gave birth,” Brooks said.
The newborn received IG prophylactically (immunoglobin administered to prevent disease). Both mother and child are doing well.’
CDC officials confirmed the case to DailyMail.com. Their website warns that pregnant women are “more likely to get seriously ill or die” from monkeypox.
Timeline of monkeypox in the United States
1958: Monkeypox is discovered when a smallpox-like disease breaks out in monkeys kept for research.
1970: The first case of the disease in humans is recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was later found in a number of other countries in Central and West Africa.
2003: The former largest outbreak of monkeypox in the Americas has occurred. A total of 47 people became infected after contact with pet prairie dogs that became infected on the farm.
July 2021: A case of monkeypox identified in the US in a citizen recently returned from Nigeria.
November 2021: Monkeypox was detected in another US resident who recently returned from Nigeria.
May 2022: A man in Massachusetts is diagnosed with monkeypox, becoming the first case of the current epidemic. There are now more than 3,000 cases nationwide.
July 2022: Two children and a pregnant woman test positive for monkeypox as the disease spreads to other groups. The children were in California and traveling through Washington DC, it was unclear where the woman was.
Fauci – the leading expert on infectious diseases in the US – warned in an interview yesterday that pregnant women are among those at greater risk of monkeypox.
He told NPR, “We need to understand the mode of transmission, the manifestations, and also the risk to people like children and pregnant women. There is a really big risk there.
“Right now, thank God, we have a report of only two cases in children, but they are all in an at-risk population.”
Dr Daniel Roshan, a specialist in maternal and fetal medicine at Rosh Maternal and Fetal Medicine in New York, told DailyMail.com that pregnant women and their babies face the greatest risk of monkeypox in early pregnancy because the baby’s organs are still developing, which increases the risk . congenital defects.
He said that in the later stages, babies are more at risk of contracting the virus because more blood is flowing to them, but they are less likely to suffer from birth defects because most organs are already developed.
He told DailyMail.com: “If the virus is caught in the first ten weeks of pregnancy from when the baby has just started to develop, there is a greater risk of congenital abnormalities.
‘[But] in the third trimester, there is more blood flow from the placenta to the fetus and it is easier to get the virus.”
Pregnant women who catch monkeypox can pass it to their babies in the womb via the placenta. It can also be transmitted once the baby is born through close contact – such as cuddling – and there may be a risk of transmission through breast milk.
Roshan said immune globin will be given to a pregnant woman who has caught monkeypox to help ward off the infection.
When asked how the parent got infected, Roshan said it was probably due to close contact with an infected patient.
He advised pregnant women to follow “normal protocol” to avoid contracting the virus. “I would say they should be careful about contact,” he said. “Stay away from people with rashes or fever and practice good personal hygiene.”
The CDC says babies born to pregnant women should be washed with wipes and soapy water immediately after birth.
In the guidelines published this week, they add that doctors should decide whether to give a child a vaccine or an antiviral.
Infants must then be monitored for 21 days – during which time they should be cared for by a carer or family member – to ensure they have not contracted the virus.
Infected mothers should avoid their babies until all monkeypox lesions have healed and the scabs have fallen off.
Dr. John Brooks, the lead physician in the CDC’s response to monkeypox, revealed the pregnant woman’s case during a webinar on Saturday. Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease expert, said pregnant women were at “serious risk” from the virus.
Medical literature shows that monkeypox infections in pregnant women have previously resulted in miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, and infection in utero.
However, it is not clear how often they occur because so few pregnant women were previously infected.
A 2017 study that followed four pregnant women with the condition in the Democratic Republic of Congo found that two babies miscarried and one fetus died there.
Smallpox, a now-eradicated cousin of monkeypox, was also more severe in pregnant women.
Last week, the CDC revealed that the first two cases of monkeypox in America were found in children as the virus spreads to other groups.
One is a toddler from California, while the other is an infant who was traveling through Washington DC when the case was discovered. Neither was in contact with each other.
Both children are believed to have likely contracted the virus from “domestic contacts”, which includes people they live with and visitors to their home.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said both children had contact with gay or bisexual men — the community where most cases are detected in the current epidemic.
They were given the antiviral drug TPOXX, which can help stop the infection in its tracks by disrupting the maturation of the virus.
Until now, monkeypox infections have been almost exclusively in gay or bisexual men.
However, a top expert warned that the virus had probably already spread to other groups but had not yet been detected among them due to a lack of testing.
The World Health Organization warns that pregnant women are more at risk of monkeypox.
Scientific studies suggest that three to ten percent of children infected with monkeypox will die from the disease, depending on the strain they catch.