President Joe Biden is visibly concerned about the growing spread of monkeypox.
During his visit to Osan Air Base in South Korea, Biden spoke about the disease, saying the United States is looking into whether vaccines could be available. He also expressed concerns about the virus's effects if it were to spread.
Health advisers "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."
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Biden's national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters that Biden was "being apprised of this on a very regular basis" and that the U.S. had vaccines available to treat the disease.
The U.S. confirmed its first case of monkeypox this year on Wednesday after an adult man traveled to Canada and caught the disease. There are 92 confirmed cases of the disease and 28 suspected cases across 12 nations, the World Health Organization said on Saturday.
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Monkeypox is typically found in the tropical forests of Central and West Africa and is carried by animals, including primates. The illness usually begins with a fever, muscle aches, chills, and swollen lymph nodes and then grows into a full-blown rash of pox-like blisters. The virus's similarity to smallpox allows doctors to administer the smallpox vaccine as a method to stop the virus. Smallpox vaccines currently have an 85% effectiveness rate against monkeypox infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The current risk to the public is "very, very low," Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Director Tom Inglesby told the Washington Post.