Cases of monkeypox have been popping up in the United States and Europe—a disease that rarely makes its way out of Africa.
Joe Biden now says that the spread—though still minimal—is something we should “be concerned about,” the New York Post reports. While on a trip to South Korea, he was asked what U.S. health officials are saying about monkeypox.
“They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” Biden said.
“We’re working on it hard to figure out what we do and what vaccine, if any, may be available for it,” he added. “But it is a concern in the sense that if it were to spread, it’s consequential.”
On May 21, the World Health Organization issued a report that revealed there have been 92 confirmed cases of monkeypox globally, and 28 patients who are suspected to have the disease.
The White House’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan has said that the U.S. has a “vaccine that is relevant to treating monkeypox,” saying, “We have vaccine available to be deployed for that purpose.”
According to CNBC, a New York City resident tested positive for monkeypox this weekend. The disease can cause flu-like symptoms and is in the same virus family as smallpox, though monkeypox’s symptoms are more moderate. The virus was initially discovered in monkeys and other wild animals, with symptoms including fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue. More serious symptoms include rashes and lesions on the face, hands, and body.