The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has started to release smallpox vaccine doses for monkeypox as public health officials believe case numbers will increase soon in the U.S., the agency said Monday.
There has been just one confirmed case in the U.S. — a man in Boston was diagnosed last week — while 92 cases and 28 suspected cases have been identified in 12 countries outside of African nations where the disease is endemic.
''Right now, the case count is low. So I don't think that there's a great risk to the general community for monkeypox right now in the United States,'' said Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the CDC's Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, in a press briefing Monday.
''I think that we need to pay close attention to the communities in which this might be circulating so that we can communicate effectively with them and help bring this outbreak under control.''
President Joe Biden on Sunday warned that the disease can be spread easily, including through handling a contaminated object.
''They haven't told me the level of exposure yet, but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,'' Biden said at Osan Air Base in South Korea. ''We're working on it hard to figure out what we do and what vaccine may be available.''
''But it is a concern in the sense that if it were to spread it would be consequential.''
According to the CDC, there is no ''proven, safe treatment'' for monkeypox, but smallpox vaccines and antiviral treatments can help control outbreaks.
''I am confident we're going to be able to keep our arms around it,'' said Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 response coordinator in an interview on ABC's ''This Week.''
''We're going to track it very closely and use the tools we have to make sure that we continue to prevent further spread and take care of the people who get infected,'' he said.
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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