President Biden said Sunday that the recent outbreak of monkeypox cases identified in Europe and the U.S. is something he is concerned about and its further spread could be “consequential.”
“It is a concern in that, if it were to spread, it would be consequential,” Mr. Biden said when asked by reporters about the infectious disease at the Osan Air Base in South Korea while visiting troops before leaving for Japan to continue his first trip to Asia as president.
“They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” Mr. Biden said, noting that work was underway to determine what vaccine might be effective.
During the flight to Tokyo, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that the U.S. has a supply of “vaccine that is relevant to treating monkeypox.”
“We have vaccine available to be deployed for that purpose,” he said, adding that Mr. Biden is getting regular updates on the disease.
A New York City resident had tested positive for the virus that causes monkeypox, state health officials announced late Friday.
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The unidentified patient is isolating, and officials are treating the case as positive while awaiting final confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control.
The New York case happened after a case in Massachusetts in a man who previously traveled to Canada.
Monkeypox is usually found in Central and West African countries. However, several European countries have reported outbreaks in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
The disease produces a high fever, headache and swollen lymph nodes. It also causes a significant rash that can spread all over the body.
The virus can spread through bodily fluids, monkeypox sores or via shared items like clothing and bedding that a person with the virus has contaminated.
It also can spread through respiratory droplets, though not as easily as COVID-19.