Biden says monkeypox cases are something to worry about

President Joe Biden said Sunday that the recent cases of monkeypox identified in Europe and the United States are “something to worry about.”

In his first public comments on the disease, Biden added, “It is worrying that there would be consequences if it spread.”

The president was asked about the illness while speaking to reporters at Osan Air Base in South Korea, where he was visiting troops before heading to Japan to continue his first trip to Asia as president.

“They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it’s something everyone should be concerned about,” Biden said. He added that work is being done to determine which vaccine might be effective.

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters aboard the flight to Tokyo that the United States has a stockpile of “vaccines relevant to the treatment of monkeypox.”

“We have a vaccine available that can be used for this purpose,” he said. Sullivan said Biden is regularly briefed on the outbreak.

Monkeypox is rarely identified outside of Africa, but as of Friday there were 80 confirmed cases worldwide, including at least two in the United States, and another 50 suspected cases.

Although the disease belongs to the same virus family as smallpox, its symptoms are milder. Patients usually recover within two to four weeks without requiring hospitalization, but the disease is occasionally fatal. Biden says monkeypox cases are something to worry about


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