Health

‘People should be concerned’ about monkeypox, Biden warns


President Biden raised the alarm on Sunday about monkeypox, a viral infection that spreads rapidly around the world, and warned that the disease, which can spread as easily as handling a contaminated objects, is something “everyone should be concerned about”.

Smallpox in monkeys, rarely seen outside of Africa, has been detected in recent weeks in Europe and the United States.

As of Saturday, 92 cases and 28 suspected cases have been identified in 12 countries outside of African countries where the disease is endemic, according to the World Health Organization. There has been one confirmed case in the United States – a Boston man was diagnosed last week – but public health officials believe the number of cases will soon rise.

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

“They haven’t told me the level of exposure, but that’s something people should be concerned about,” Biden said at Osan Air Base in South Korea, where he met with US troops before flying to Japan during the day. his first time. Official visit to Asia in the capacity of President. “We’re working hard to figure out what we do and what vaccines might be available.”

He added, “But it’s a concern in the sense that if it spreads, it will be the consequence.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is “no proven safe treatment” for monkeypox, but the Food and Drug Administration has approved the vaccine’s use. smallpox and antiviral treatments to help control outbreaks.

Ashish Jha, the White House’s Covid-19 response coordinator, said later on Sunday that the United States has the resources, including a smallpox vaccine, to contain the virus.

“I’m confident we’ll be able to keep our arms around it,” Dr Jha said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week”.

“We will be monitoring it very closely and using the tools we have to ensure that we continue to prevent further spread and care for those who are infected,” he said.

Two smallpox vaccines are approved for use in the United States, and they are also generally effective in preventing smallpox infections in monkeys. (One is specifically approved for that purpose.) The United States has stockpiled millions of doses to use in the event of a possible outbreak.

Most cases outside of Africa have been found in the UK, Spain and Portugal. On Sunday, Austria reported its first case.

The case reported last week in Boston was the first in the United States in nearly two decades. The sick man had recently traveled to Canada, having had two cases this year.

The United States saw an outbreak of smallpox in monkeys with dozens of cases in 2003. All were attributed to contact with infected prairie dogs and other pets.

The virus can be spread through bodily fluids, contaminated objects and skin-to-skin contact, or through respiratory droplets released by an infected person.

New York City health authorities on Friday said they have tested two patients who are being investigated for possible monkeypox.

Monkeypox produces a rash that begins with flat red spots that become raised and filled with pus. The infected person will also have a fever and body aches.

Symptoms usually appear after six to 13 days but can be as long as three weeks after exposure. They can last two to four weeks, with severe cases occurring more commonly in children, according to the World Health Organization, according to the World Health Organization.

Daniel Victor and Apoorva Mandavilli contribution report.



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