Learn the symptoms of monkeypox, if children can get it and ways to stay healthy

With news of a global monkeypox outbreak, parents may be nervous about another unusual virus spreading around the world. However, unlike the virus that causes COVID‑19, the monkeypox virus is not new. It also does not spread as easily from person to person.

Children can get monkeypox. However, the risk in children is low. On July 22, 2022, the CDC confirmed cases of monkeypox in children in the U.S. that were likely a result of household transmission.

Learn more about monkeypox, including symptoms and prevention tips.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare and contagious disease caused by the monkeypox virus. The monkeypox virus is from the same family of viruses as the smallpox virus, which was eradicated in 1980. However, monkeypox is not believed to spread as easily or be as fatal as smallpox.

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958. Until recently, the majority of known cases were reported in African countries. The only prior outbreak in the U.S. was in 2003, when there were 47 cases in six states. As of July 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is tracking an outbreak that includes cases in the U.S. and North Texas. Visit the CDC website for the most current information about monkeypox cases.

Can children get monkeypox?

While the majority of monkeypox infections are currently in male adults, children can get monkeypox. Children are at higher risk for severe disease from monkeypox than adolescents and adults. For this reason, it's important to make sure your child is not around anyone showing symptoms of monkeypox. In addition, if you are concerned about any symptoms in your child, seek medical attention.

Learn more about monkeypox symptoms, prevention tips and when to test.