Officials from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have previously said that people who are exposed to monkeypox, which has a slow incubation period, can be given existing smallpox vaccines to limit the sickness’s severity.

Biden’s first remarks on the growing outbreak of the rare virus came a day after a senior adviser for the World Health Organization said the monkeypox seemed to be spreading through sexual contact and admonished that case numbers could continue climbing over the summer as people attended festivals and other major gatherings.

“What seems to be happening now is that it has got into the population as a sexual form, as a genital form, and is being spread, as are sexually transmitted infections, which has amplified its transmission around the world,” said the WHO adviser, David Heymann.

Entering Sunday, public health authorities had confirmed about 80 cases in nine European countries, along with the US, Canada and Australia. Another 50 cases were suspected infections awaiting confirmation.

In the US, Massachusetts health officials confirmed the first case of the disease in that state on Wednesday. That patient had recently traveled to Canada.

Mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak.
What is monkeypox and should you be worried?
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A New York City resident later in the week tested positive for the virus which causes monkeypox, with the CDC on Saturday still investigating whether the illness was present.

The virus comes from wild animals, including rodents and primates, but can occasionally transfer to humans – with most of those cases traced to central and west Africa. It can cause fever, body aches, chills and fatigue, and it occasionally shows up in the US, including last year in a couple of people who had just traveled to Nigeria.

People with severe cases can also develop rash and pus-filled lesions on the face, palms of the hands and other body parts.

The virus does not spread easily between people, but transmission can occur through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, touching clothing or bedding that have been contaminated with fluids or sores, or through respiratory droplets during prolonged face-to-face contact.

Health officials have made it a point to say that the monkeypox is harder to spread – and therefore easier to contain – than Covid-19.

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