Biden says ‘everybody’ should be concerned about monkeypox
President Biden said Sunday that “everybody” should be concerned about the recent cases of monkeypox detected in the United States and Europe.
Biden, who took questions from reporters before departing South Korea for Japan, said his health advisers had not yet briefed him on the “level of exposure” of the disease other than to express that it spreading would be “consequential.”
“They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” Biden said. “We’re working on it hard to figure out what we do and what vaccine, if any, may be available for it.”
“But it is a concern in the sense that if it were to spread, it’s consequential. That’s all they have told me,” Biden added.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan later told reporters aboard Air Force One that the U.S. has vaccines ready to deploy that are “relevant to treating monkeypox.” Sullivan said he has been briefing Biden, who is currently on a multiday trip to Asia, on the situation based on written updates from the administration’s health officials.
Monkeypox is a rare virus that is typically detected in Africa, but recent confirmed cases in the U.S., Europe and Canada have perplexed scientists and caused concern.
Massachusetts public health officials confirmed a case of monkeypox in a person who had recently traveled to Canada. In total, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it is tracking 80 confirmed cases and 50 possible cases across 11 countries.
“WHO is working with the affected countries and others to expand disease surveillance to find and support people who may be affected, and to provide guidance on how to manage the disease,” the organization said in a statement on Friday.
The globe is already on heightened alert over the threat from dangerous viruses after more than two years battling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Monkeypox spreads in a different way than COVID-19, the WHO noted, specifically through close contact with an infected person or animal. Symptoms of the virus include rashes, fever and swollen lymph nodes.
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