As the latest surge of coronavirus sweeps the country, travelers now have another disease to consider when making plans: monkeypox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging American travelers to “take extra precautions” due to the smallpox-related illness, as cases have been reported in dozens of countries, including the United States. At the time of writing, the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal have the highest number of documented cases, with just over 300 cases in the UK representing the highest number of cases in the world.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) upgraded its Monkeypox Travel Health Notice to the more severe Warning Level 2 level, which is the middle level of its three-tier rating system. For now, federal health officials are treating monkeypox the same way they treat other disease outbreaks when it comes to travel (for the record, it’s in the same category as yellow fever in Nigeria and Ghana, and polio in various countries, including Uganda and Senegal). The CDC does not provide country-specific travel advice for monkeypox, as it does for the coronavirus. “The risk to the public is low, but you should seek immediate medical attention if you develop a new unexplained skin rash (lesion on any part of the body), with or without fever and chills, and avoid contact with other people,” it says. message. CDC.
This means that the federal agency does not go so far as to recommend avoiding non-essential travel altogether, but suggests that travelers take some additional precautions, including: avoiding close contact with people who have skin or genital lesions; avoid contact with wild animals such as rats, squirrels, monkeys and great apes; do not eat game or use products made from wild animals in Africa; and stay away from clothing, bedding, or other items that may have been contaminated by infected people or animals. The CDC also previously advised people to wear masks while traveling to contain the spread of monkeypox, but has since abandoned that advice to avoid “confusion” about the disease, which is usually spread through direct skin-to-skin contact. Because the disease can be transmitted through the air, although not often, the CDC continues to recommend masks be worn by people infected with monkeypox and those who come into contact with them.
While travelers may not be at high risk of contracting the disease, the virus continues to baffle scientists and doctors. In the past, people have contracted monkeypox from being around a sick animal, most commonly in West and Central Africa (despite the name, the virus is mostly spread by rodents, not monkeys), and usually the virus does not spread easily. from person to person.
But now the virus seems to behave differently. Since May 13, about 1,100 people in 29 countries have contracted monkeypox, and health officials are still investigating about a thousand more cases. In the US, doctors have so far reported 35 confirmed cases across 14 states and the county…