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US reports 1st case of pregnant woman with monkeypox in current outbreak

More than 3,500 cases of monkeypox have been recorded in the current outbreak in the U.S., which officials started tracking in mid-May.

For the first time in the current outbreak, a pregnant woman in the U.S. has been diagnosed with monkeypox.

"There has been a case of a pregnant woman who delivered," Dr. John Brooks, chief medical officer in the division of HIV prevention at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced over the weekend.

"We know that an infection can occur through placental transfer. And in the case that we are aware of presently, it doesn't appear the virus was transmitted," Brooks said during the presentation for the Infectious Diseases Society of America over the weekend.

"Both mom and baby are doing well," he added.

There have now been more than 3,500 recorded cases of monkeypox in the U.S. And there are more than 19,000 cases worldwide.

So far, the vast majority of monkeypox cases in this global outbreak have been among men who have sex with men. But experts have always emphasized that the virus can spread to people outside of that specific population, as the case in the pregnant woman shows. Earlier this week, the CDC also identified two cases in U.S. children.

"In addition to transmission through sexual contact, monkeypox can also be spread in households through close contact between people, such as hugging and kissing, and on contaminated towels or bedding," World Health Organization director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press briefing Wednesday.

Typically, monkeypox starts with symptoms that can resemble a flu, such as fatigue, fever and headache. (In fact, some people who've gotten monkeypox in this outbreak initially mistook their symptoms for jet lag, a health provider in San Francisco previously told TODAY.) Then comes the rash: Monkeypox lesions may start off looking like a pimple or blister and can cause intense pain. The rashes change through a few different stages before finally scabbing off and leaving new skin behind.

In this outbreak, though, the pattern of symptoms has been a little different. People may never notice or experience those early flu-like symptoms, for instance, or they may develop those symptoms after the rash appears. Also, the lesions in this outbreak are most often showing up in mucosal areas, particularly the genitals, anus and mouth, Brooks said in the presentation.

There isn't enough available data to conclude whether pregnant people are more susceptible to monkeypox or if the virus causes more severe symptoms during pregnancy, according to the CDC. That said, there are documented cases of spontaneous pregnancy loss, stillbirth and preterm delivery in confirmed cases of monkeypox infection during pregnancy.

Kids under 8, people who are immunocompromised and those with a history of certain skin conditions, such as eczema, may also be more likely to experience severe complications, the CDC said.

Containing monkeypox will involve several different efforts, the World Health Organization said this week, including testing and collecting data, rolling out vaccines to those most likely to be affected and educating the public and health care providers about the virus.