Joe Biden Says Monkeypox Is 'Something To Be Concerned About'
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US President Joe Biden has spoken out about the spread of monkeypox and described it as 'something that everybody should be concerned about'.
The statement comes after a case of monkeypox has been confirmed in the US.
This is the first time Biden has addressed the disease.
The 79-year-old said: "They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet but it is something that everybody should be concerned about."
He also added: "It is a concern in that if it were to spread it would be consequential."
The comments were made as he spoke to reporters at Osan Air Base in South Korea on his first trip to Asia as US President.
The US has also claimed it has a vaccine ready for the possibility of a monkeypox outbreak. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters in Tokyo that the United States has a supply of 'vaccine that is relevant to treating monkeypox'.
He said: "We have vaccine available to be deployed for that purpose." Sullivan said Biden was getting regular updates on the outbreak.
Recently, the monkeypox virus was confirmed in the US after officials confirmed a case in Massachusetts. Cases were also confirmed in Texas and Maryland last year, from people who had been to Nigeria.
The news comes as a small number of confirmed or suspected cases were reported earlier this month in the UK, Portugal and Spain – the first of which is believed to have been contracted when the patient was in Nigeria before travelling to the UK.
Jennifer McQuiston, of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said that in the latest instance, the man had travelled to Canada at the end of April to meet friends, returning in early May.
Officials said they are in contact with counterparts in the UK and Canada as part of the investigation, but McQuiston added: “At this point in time, we don’t have any information that links the Massachusetts case to cases in the UK.”
While it is the only case in the US that the CDC is aware of, McQuiston said: “I do think we are preparing for the possibility of more cases.”
Officials said the Massachusetts resident is hospitalised but in good condition, and that this US case poses no risk to the public.
The CDC says on its website: “U.S. monkeypox cases are very rare. Monkeypox does not occur naturally in the United States, but cases have happened that were associated with international travel or importing animals from areas where the disease is more common.”
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