Updated May 22, 2022 - Health

Biden: "Everybody should be concerned" about monkeypox spread


President Joe Biden speaks to media before boarding Air Force One prior to departing Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek on May 22 as he travels to Japan on the second leg of his visit to Asia. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Sunday said that the recent spread of monkeypox in at least 12 countries are "something that everybody should be concerned about."

Why it matters: These are the president's first public remarks about the recent outbreaks, which include a confirmed case in Massachusetts, a person who tested positive in New York and roughly a half dozen other cases being monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • “It is a concern in that if it were to spread it would be consequential," Biden told reporters at Osan Air Base in South Korea, where he met with troops before heading to Japan on the next leg of his Asia trip.
  • The president is receiving regular updates from his health team on the outbreaks, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday.
  • Sullivan told the traveling pool that the United States has vaccines "available to be deployed."

Zoom out: Europe has seen a recent spread of monkeypox, with cases found in Belgium, Italy, London and northern Ireland, Portugal and Spain. Australia and Canada also reported cases.

  • The spread is not likely to cause a global pandemic like COVID did.

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