Marjorie Taylor Greene Asks Why Kids Are Getting Monkeypox if It's an STD

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has taken to Twitter, questioning why children are catching monkeypox if it's "a sexually transmitted disease."

Monkeypox is rapidly spreading throughout the globe. Since May, there have been 16,836 recorded cases across 74 countries, as of July 22, according to the CDC. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak a global health emergency, as cases continue to spread.

So far the outbreak continues to be concentrated among men who have sex with men. As a result, many people have labeled it as an STD. However, anyone can catch monkeypox, particularly if they have direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.

While experts are still researching its potential to become an entrenched STD, many do not believe it behaves like one.

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene
In this combination image, Marjorie Taylor Greene enters a courtroom in Atlanta on April 22, 2022, left, and a stock image shows a person suffering from monkeypox, right.

On July 22, the CDC confirmed that two children have been confirmed with monkeypox in unrelated cases.

Following this, some have begun to question which groups it could start impacting as it continues to spread.

Greene took to Twitter following the news, saying: "If Monkeypox is a sexually transmitted disease, why are kids getting it?"

Newsweek has contacted Greene for comment.

She is not the only one to express concern recently.

Another Twitter, user Alex Dodds, said: "Am I the only parent reading about #monkeypox and starting to worry it'll be all over elementary schools this fall? It is *not* an STD, reads more like Hand, Foot, and Mouth. I'm not a public health official, but seems real weird it's currently painted as an LGBTQ+ issue."

"Monkeypox will become established in the pediatric and general population and will transmit through daycares and schools. It is not an STD. It is like MRSA. This isn't rocket science," Denise Dewald tweeted.

However, experts told Newsweek that this outbreak is not likely to cause a problem among children.

Professor Eyal Leshem, infectious disease specialist and Director at the Center for Travel Medicine and Tropical Diseases at Sheba Medical Center, told Newsweek that in past monkeypox outbreaks, data pointed "to a greater severity" in children, specifically younger children. However, it is not likely to spread rapidly among children in this current outbreak.

"When we look at the epidemiology of the current outbreak, we see that it is not highly transmissible. In other words, most cases were infected through close skin to skin contact with an active patient, not through respiratory secretions or droplets or airborne infections," Leshem said. "Therefore, we do not think that rapid spread in educational settings, for example, is a highly portable scenario."

Leshem said the cases recorded so far are also "community-based cases" and there has not so far been a "spill-over to educational settings."

Before this current outbreak, monkeypox was only usually recorded in parts of central and western Africa.

Dr Hugh Adler, Honorary Clinical Research Fellow at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine told Newsweek that the risk to children in "high income countries" is "incredibly low."

"Children are at risk of acquiring [monkeypox] if they are a close household contact of a confirmed case, but this has very rarely occurred in the current outbreak," Adler said. "This should be contrasted with the situation in West and Central Africa, where cases in children are not uncommon, and often associated with spread from wildlife. Monkeypox in children can be severe, which underlines the importance of isolating cases and bringing this outbreak to a close through case identification, isolation, contact tracing and vaccination."

While the virus can be severe in children, Adler said it is highly unlikely, that monkeypox will spread throughout schools.

"Transmission requires prolonged close contact, [and] school-based outbreaks have never been reported in any country that I am aware of," he said.

Connor Bamford, research fellow in virology and antiviral immunity at the Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine told Newsweek that this monkeypox outbreak is different to 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 said.

"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]."