President Biden said that the spread of monkeypox in the U.S. and Europe is “a concern” in his first public comments on the disease. The president added that the spread of the disease could be “consequential” and urged doctors to be on alert. The U.S. government recently placed a $119 million order for millions of monkeypox vaccines, which also protect against smallpox.
The first monkeypox case was detected in the U.S. this past Wednesday after a number of European nations reported cases in the preceding days. As of Sunday, May 22, the disease has reached a third continent after a case was confirmed in Israel.
According to the CDC, the smallpox-like disease produces symptoms consistent with chickenpox and is fatal in roughly 10% of cases. It is primarily found in West Africa and Central Africa, though doctors believe the current outbreak was potentially exacerbated at gay pride event in Europe that was attended by over 80,000 people. Experts are investigating the festival as a potential “superspreader event.”
“Among the 30 or so diagnosed in Madrid, there are several who attended the event, although it is not yet possible to know if one of them is patient zero of this outbreak or if they all got infected there,” a health source told the Spanish newspaper El País.
Some health experts have speculated that the current strain may be spreading through sexual contact.
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) May 21, 2022
The first known case of the current monkeypox outbreak was detected in the United Kingdom on May 7 in a person that had traveled to Nigeria. There are over 100 confirmed cases in Europe as of May 22 while the WHO has warned that the world can expect more cases.
“It is a concern in that if it were to spread it would be consequential,” Biden said of monkeypox in his first public comments on the outbreak. “They haven’t told me the level of exposure yet but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” he added.
As National File previously reported, the U.S. government has placed a $119 million order for a monkeypox vaccine produced by the Swedish biotech company Bavarian Nordic. The vaccine was developed with U.S. support from the Dr. Anthony Fauci-led National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD).
NIAD has supported Bavarian Nordic with well over $100 million in grants to produce numerous vaccines, namely for Ebola. Bavarian Nordic received FDA approval for its vaccine in September of 2019, just two months before COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns were implemented across the world.
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