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Biden says monkeypox spread is concerning and advisers are examining

U.S. President Joe Biden pictured May 3, 2022, in Troy, Alabama. (Julie Bennett/Getty Images/TNS)

The growing monkeypox outbreak is “something everyone should be concerned about,” President Joe Biden said.

Biden, before boarding Air Force One in South Korea on Sunday, told reporters he’d spoken to advisers about the situation.

“We’re working on it hard to figure out what we do and what vaccine, if any, might be available for it,” Biden said. “It’s a concern in that if it were to spread, it would be consequential.”

The rare and potentially deadly cousin of the smallpox virus is traditionally confined to regions in Africa, but health officials are concerned about its recent wider spread.

Confirmed and suspected cases have been ticking up in Europe and North America, including at least two confirmed cases in the U.S.

“It’s something everybody should be concerned about,” said Biden, who heads next to Japan, the final leg of his first trip to Asia as president.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One that the U.S. has a “relevant” vaccine ready to be deployed to treat monkeypox, if necessary.

Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, said he wouldn’t be surprised if “a few more cases” emerged in the days ahead.

“We’ve known about this virus for decades,” he said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “We have vaccines against it. We have treatments against it.”

“It’s not as contagious as COVID” and spreads “very differently,” Jha said. “So I am confident we’re going to be able to keep our arms around it.”


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