AUSTIN (KXAN) — A pregnant woman tested positive for monkeypox in the United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials announced this week. Both the mother and baby are doing “well,” they said.

While Austin Public Health says no confirmed or presumptive cases of monkeypox in Travis County are among women or children right now, it’s the first confirmed case of monkeypox in a pregnant woman in the US, drawing concern from health officials and enforcing the notion that anyone is susceptible to the virus.

“Monkeypox affects everyone regardless of gender and/or sexual orientation,” said William Malm, a spokesperson for APH.

“Monkeypox can be spread through prolonged close contact with direct contact with someone who has a rash, scabs and body fluids, and by prolonged exposure to respiratory secretions.  It can also be spread through touching and sharing objects, including linens, silverware, and drinks, with a person showing symptoms,” he said.

The CDC notes its data on the impact of monkeypox and pregnancy is limited — for example, it’s not yet known if the virus presents more severely due to pregnancy — but researchers do know that monkeypox can be transmitted to a fetus from a mother.

“Adverse pregnancy outcomes, including spontaneous pregnancy loss and stillbirth, have been reported in cases of confirmed monkeypox infection during pregnancy,” the CDC said on their website.

The signs and symptoms of monkeypox for pregnant women match the signs and symptoms of patients who are not pregnant, the CDC said. Those symptoms include:

  • Fever   
  • Headache   
  • Muscle aches and backache   
  • Swollen lymph nodes   
  • Chills   
  • Exhaustion   
  • A rash that can look like pimples or blisters

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the first six of those symptoms appear first and a rash or lesions develop shortly afterward, typically starting on the face and then spreading to other body parts. An Austin man who got monkeypox told KXAN he got a fever first, then a few days later found a spot on his hand which spread over his body.

He also experienced difficulty using the restroom, which the CDC has said is becoming more common in cases in the US.

The announcement that a case has been reported in a pregnant woman comes as families prepare to send their kids back to school, both amid a growing number of COVID-19 cases and monkeypox cases being reported.

“Austin Public Health is working with congregate settings, including schools, to share guidance,” Malm said.

Right now, vaccines for monkeypox are not available for the general public in Austin, only for people who have been in contact with someone that has tested positive for monkeypox. COVID-19 vaccines are however available for children and will be given at back-to-school events across Central Texas.