Joe Biden says ‘everyone should be concerned’ about recent spread of monkeypox that has left experts clueless

On Sunday, President Joe Biden said the recent monkeypox outbreak should affect “everyone” as it continues to baffle medical experts around the world.

Fox News reported that Biden, speaking to a group of reporters in South Korea before boarding Air Force One to Japan, said, “Everyone should be concerned [it].”

Biden’s comments come as large monkeypox outbreaks have been reported in Africa, with some cases also reported in Europe and the US

Biden said, “We’re working on it, it’s hard to figure out what we’re doing.”

There are currently 80 confirmed cases and at least 50 suspected cases worldwide. The US has only confirmed two cases so far, after a man in Massachusetts was diagnosed with the disease and a second man in New York City tested positive for it.

The Massachusetts man is said to have traveled to Canada before contracting the disease.

Cases of monkeypox have also been reported in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Canada, France, Germany, Belgium and Australia. None of the people who contracted the disease reportedly have a travel history to Africa, where the virus is most common.

Oyewale Tomori, a virologist and World Health Organization (WHO) advisory board member, said: “I am stunned by this. Every day I wake up and there are more countries that are infected.”

The virologist noted that the seemingly large presence of monkeypox in western countries among people who have not traveled to Africa is puzzling.

Tomori added: “This isn’t the type of spread that we’ve seen in West Africa, so something new could be happening in the West.”

Christian Happi, director of the African Center of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, agreed with Tomori that the seemingly spontaneous emergence of monkeypox in the West is puzzling. He said he had “never seen anything like what’s happening in Europe”.

Although it is unlikely that anyone will die from the disease, the WHO estimates that monkeypox could kill up to one in ten people. However, the similarity of monkeypox to smallpox may allow smallpox vaccine recipients to receive some protection from the virus.

Monkeypox symptoms reportedly appear one to two weeks after initial infection, leading to flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, and shortness of breath. After about five days of infection, a “rash phase” begins, when a rash appears and often spreads to different areas of the infected person’s body. Joe Biden says ‘everyone should be concerned’ about recent spread of monkeypox that has left experts clueless

Laura Coffey

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