Biden Says Monkeypox Cases Something to ‘Be Concerned About’

PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — President Joe Biden said Sunday that recent cases of monkeypox that have been identified in Europe and the United States were something “to be concerned about.”

In his first public comments on the disease, Biden added: “It is a concern in that if it were to spread it would be consequential.”

As he talked to journalists at Osan Air Base, South Korea to discuss the disease, the president answered questions about it. He then flew to Japan for his first Asia trip as president.

“They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” Biden said. Biden said that research was ongoing to find the most effective vaccine.

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters aboard the flight to Tokyo that the United States has a supply of “vaccine that is relevant to treating monkeypox.”

“We have vaccine available to be deployed for that purpose,” he said. Sullivan indicated that Biden is receiving regular updates regarding the outbreak.

While monkeypox is not often diagnosed outside of Africa’s borders, at least 20 confirmed cases were reported worldwide as of Friday.

The disease is part of the same family as smallpox but the symptoms it causes are much milder. The disease is usually reversible in approximately two to four weeks. However, it can be deadly.

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