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Monkeypox Transmission would be ‘Consequential’, Biden Warns

Before departing South Korea yesterday, President Joe Biden warned that monkeypox, a viral infection spreading around the world, was something “that everybody should be concerned about.” He added that continued transmission would be “consequential.”

“They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” Mr. Biden said at Osan Air Base in South Korea, where he met with American troops before flying to Japan during his first official visit to Asia as president. “We’re working on it hard to figure out what we do and what vaccine may be available.”

He added, “But it is a concern in the sense that if it were to spread it would be consequential.”

The monkeypox virus, which is only occasionally fatal, spreads through body fluids, skin contact and respiratory droplets. Its common symptoms include a distinctive rash, fever and body aches. The speed at which it’s spreading has raised fears of another pandemic that would strain health systems already stretched thin by Covid-19.

Public health officials in the U.S. said that the country had the resources to keep monkeypox at bay. In the event of an outbreak, the U.S. has stockpiled millions of doses of smallpox vaccines, which are generally effective at preventing monkeypox infection, as well.

Details: As of Saturday, 92 cases and 28 suspected cases had been identified in 12 countries, including Britain, Spain, Austria and Portugal, outside of those African nations where it is endemic.

There has been one confirmed case in the United States — a man in Boston was diagnosed last week — but public health officials believe case numbers will soon increase.

Though only occasionally fatal, the speed at which the monkeypox virus is spreading has raised fears of another pandemic that would further strain health systems already stretched thin by Covid-19.

 

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