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Monkeypox Spreading 'Would Be Consequential,' President Biden Warns

Damir Mujezinovic - Author

May 23 2022, Published 1:49 p.m. ET

Just as the world is starting to deal with the novel coronavirus, a new epidemic outbreak appears to be on the horizon: monkeypox.

An infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus or MPV, monkeypox typical causes symptoms such as fever, muscle pains and swollen lymph nodes -- these are usually followed by a rash that forms blisters.

Monkeypox has been found in recent weeks in Europe and the United States and, according to President Joe Biden, there is reason for concern.

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Biden Issues Warning

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Speaking at at Osan Air Base in South Korea, Biden said that the speed at which monkeypox spreads is concerning, according to The New York Times.

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They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it is something that everybody should be concerned about. We’re working on it hard to figure out what we do and what vaccine may be available.

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"But it is a concern in the sense that if it were to spread it would be consequential," Biden warned.

Monkeypox Spread

Monkeypox is endemic in parts of Africa, but until recently it was not present in Europe or the U.S. It reportedly spreads very easily.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no proven treatment for monkeypox. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved smallpox vaccines for monkeypox.

The U.S. has stockpiled millions of doses of smallpox vaccines to prepare for a possible outbreak, but fortunately the number of reported cases in the country remains extremely low.

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Read More Below

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According to the White House coronavirus response director, Dr. Ashish Jha, the U.S. should be able to control the spread of monkeypox.

"I am confident we’re going to be able to keep our arms around it," Jha said in a recent interview.

"We’re going to track it very closely and use the tools we have to make sure that we continue to prevent further spread and take care of the people who get infected," he added.

Are Scientists Concerned?

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According to Nature, some scientists are concerned but there is still no need to panic.

Monkeypox is not nearly as transmissible as COVID-19 and effective treatments for the disease already exist, while smallpox vaccines are good at preventing the spread of the virus.

Additionally, most people infected with monkeypox recover after a couple of weeks without any treatment.

However, some in the scientific community believe the fact that monkeypox was detected in people with no connection to one another shows the virus has been spreading quietly.

Andrea McCollum, head of the CDC's poxvirus team, called this "deeply concerning."


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