President Joe Biden has said “everyone” should be concerned about the spread of monkeypox, contradicting comments from CDC officials who have called for calm among the American public with one confirmed case and another suspected case now on the table. American soil.
The president addressed the global rise in cases of the rare infectious disease for the first time on Sunday as he boarded Air Force One to fly from South Korea to Japan for the next leg of his visit to Asia. .
“They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it’s something everyone should be worried about,” he told reporters.
“That’s a concern in that if it were to spread, there would be consequences.”
Mr Biden said US officials are “working hard to figure out what we are doing and what vaccine, if any, might be available for it”.
There is an effective vaccine against the monkeypox virus, and the Biden administration has already taken steps to source it from the United States.
Biotech company Bavarian Nordic revealed this week that the US government has placed a $119 million order for its Jynneos vaccine.
An additional $180 million is also ready and waiting for more vaccines if needed, allowing the country in total to procure 13 million doses for the American people.
The Jynneos vaccine is a smallpox vaccine and is already licensed for use against smallpox in the United States.
According to the CDC, the smallpox vaccine is at least 85% effective against monkeypox.
On Sunday, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan confirmed to Air Force One reporters that the United States has vaccines to deal with a possible outbreak.
Of Mr Biden’s knowledge of the matter, he said: ‘He is briefed on it very regularly.
The president’s comments come after CDC official Jennifer McQuiston said “the general public shouldn’t be worried” about the sudden rise in infections of the rare disease.
The deputy director of the Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology at the CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases said CNN Thursday that the emergence of cases in countries where monkeypox did not originate “is a very unusual situation” but that there was no “immediate risk” to the public.
“Monkey pox is normally only reported in West or Central Africa, and we don’t see it in the United States or Europe – and the number of reported cases is definitely outside the normal level. for what we would see,” she said.
“At the same time, there really aren’t many cases being reported – I think maybe a dozen, a few dozen – so the general public shouldn’t be concerned about the immediate risk of monkeypox.”
On Friday, New York City health officials announced that a patient had tested positive for a virus linked to monkeypox.
Two patients were tested by the city’s health department for monkeypox, with one ruled out as negative while the second tested positive for orthopoxvirus – the family of viruses to which monkeypox belongs.
The New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Public Health Laboratory said in a press release on Friday that final confirmation of the individual’s diagnosis will come after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from the United States will have completed their tests.
Until then, the patient is in isolation and presumed positive, likely making it the second known case on US soil this year after a Massachusetts man became the first confirmed case on Wednesday.
The New York Health Department revealed on Thursday that a possible case had been admitted to Bellevue Hospital in the heart of Manhattan with symptoms.
It’s unclear whether this individual is the presumptive positive or negative case, but even before preliminary testing returned, officials said contact tracing was already underway to track down anyone who may have come into close contact with them. .
As the CDC urges Americans not to panic, the city’s health agency is urging Covid-weary New Yorkers to wear face masks indoors.
The agency said masks can protect against both monkeypox and other viruses such as Covid-19, while anyone with flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes and rashes on face and body is encouraged to contact their health care provider.
Although monkeypox is rarer, less transmissible and there are vaccines available, health officials want to avoid a repeat of the Covid-19 crisis, which has crippled the city’s healthcare system.
At the onset of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, New York City quickly became the global epicenter of the virus, with 815 lives lost in a single day in April of that year.
Hospitals were on the verge of collapse as healthcare workers were overwhelmed with sick patients and bodies piled up in refrigerated trucks across the city.
Covid-19 cases are rising again in Manhattan, with all of New York City reaching the highest risk level for the virus this week.
Across the country, at least six other possible cases of monkeypox are also being investigated by the CDC after the individuals sat near an infected traveler on a flight from Nigeria to the UK earlier in the year. month.
The CDC said none of the six individuals had symptoms of monkeypox. They are said to be healthy and at low risk of contracting the infection.
The New York patient does not appear to be included in the six.
It comes after a Massachusetts man became the first confirmed case on US soil this year.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced on Wednesday the case of the man who had just returned from a trip to Canada, where he had traveled by private transportation.
The patient is in good condition at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The state agency said there was “no risk to the public” and that it was working closely with the CDC and other health officials to identify anyone who may have been in contact with the patient while he was contagious.
Worldwide, there have been 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases since cases began emerging in countries that do not normally report infections in early May, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Outside the United States, cases have been detected in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and Italy.
On Saturday, Sweden and Israel both reported their first confirmed cases – which are not yet included in the WHO tally.
The WHO is now holding daily emergency meetings around the world, with an emergency meeting held on Friday at the committee tasked with advising on infection risks that could pose a threat to global health.
It is not yet known what led to the sudden increase in cases or how individuals were exposed to the rare infection.
The virus can be spread through close contact with an infected person or animal through respiratory droplets, bodily fluids, or other forms of close contact, such as sharing clothes.
Experts are now investigating a possible sexually transmitted spread after recent confirmed cases included men who said they had been sexually active with other men.
Symptoms are said to resemble those of smallpox and include fever, headache, chills, muscle aches, exhaustion, rashes and sores.
After about one to three days of fever, the patient usually develops a rash on the face before it spreads to other parts of the body. Lesions on the body go through different stages before eventually falling off.
The main difference between the symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes the lymph nodes to swell, according to the CDC.
In most cases, the symptoms are mild, but the virus has been fatal in about one in 10 cases in Africa.
Monkeypox was first detected in monkeys in 1958 when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease were detected in samples kept for research.
The first human case was then recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970.
In 2003, cases of human monkeypox were detected on US soil – the first confirmed outside of Africa – when the country witnessed an outbreak in six states.
A total of 47 confirmed and probable cases have been reported in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
All of the patients acquired the infection after coming into contact with prairie dogs that had been kept near small mammals imported from Ghana, according to the CDC.
Last year, two cases of infection were reported in the United States. The last was in November, when an American tested positive after returning to Maryland from Nigeria.
In July, another case was confirmed in Texas in a US citizen who had also traveled from Nigeria to the United States on two commercial flights.
In both cases, no additional infections were detected in the United States after health authorities conducted contact tracing.
The Independent Gt