After it was announced that two children in the U.S. have contracted monkeypox, GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene asked on Twitter why children catch MPV while spreading dangerous disinformation about the virus.
During a call held by the White House with the Department of Health and Human Services on Friday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials revealed that the two children did have the virus.
Greene took to Twitter following the news, writing: “If Monkeypox is a sexually transmitted disease, why are kids getting it?”
According to Greene, who devotes a significant amount of her energy to attacking the LGBTQ+ community, queer Americans are pedophiles and exploit young children they “groom” for sexual exploitation.
Attorney and clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, Alejandra Caraballo, called out Greene’s tweet and warned that it was the sort of rhetoric that would result in violence against LGBTQ+ people.
“Now we have sitting members of congress making a false connection between monkeypox and child sexual abuse,” Caraballo wrote on Twitter. “This is so incredibly dangerous and will result in violence against LGBTQ people.”
She correctly added, “Monkeypox is not a STI.”
As soon as the current outbreak started, experts and officials warned that even though the disease spread among social circles of men who have sex with men, anyone could contract it.
Connor Bamford, a research fellow in virology and antiviral immunity at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, told Newsweek that this MPV outbreak differs from previous outbreaks.
“Any spread to new communities or populations like children would be concerning as it could increase numbers of cases, which could actually lead to a worse disease or even easier sustained spread,” Bamford said. “However, given this recent MPXV variant is different from previous ones we have studied, it’s not clear exactly how it could affect children. There have been children noted to be infected in this outbreak, but they don’t seem to be at higher risk of severe disease or onward spread, although numbers are very, very low.”
He added, “In previous outbreaks with other variants in Africa, it has been noted that children have died. Additionally, children may interact with other vulnerable groups like pregnant people. This being said, we know there are vulnerable people in all communities, including [men who have sex with men].”
It is recommended that high-risk groups, such as men who have sex with men, get vaccinated against MPV; however, vaccines are in short supply, and the government is increasing its efforts to procure more doses.
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