PYEONGTAEK, South Korea (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden said Sunday the recent monkeypox cases in the United States and Europe are “something to be concerned about” and U.S. health officials are looking into possible treatments.
Speaking to reporters before boarding Air Force One at Osan Air Base in South Korea, the President was about the monkeypox disease and said he has been briefed by his health team on the cases both in the U.S. and Europe, which the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring.
“They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” Biden said. “It is a concern in that if it were to spread it would be consequential.”
Monkeypox originates in Africa and is rarely seen outside of the country. However, there have been 80 confirmed cases worldwide, including at least two in the United States and other countries looking into “atypical” outbreaks of monkeypox. The CDC is monitoring six people in the United States after the individuals sat near an infected traveler while on a flight from Nigeria to the United Kingdom in early May.
Human-to-human transmission of the disease is uncommon. The illness usually lasts several weeks and while in most cases is not fatal, can be for some. Those at higher risk are people who closely interact with someone infected with the disease.
“We have people who are being monitored for diseases all the time,” CDC spokesperson Christine Pearson wrote in an email Thursday. “The six people being monitored are healthy, with no symptoms, and are considered at low risk for monkeypox.”
Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told reporters the United States has vaccines “available to be deployed.”
Sullivan is Biden is getting regular updates from his health team about the cases both in the United States and abroad.
Michael reported from the United States.