The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have raised its traveler alert level for monkeypox this week, encouraging precautions such as avoiding touching or eating wild animals, sharing food or drink with those who might be infected or who have a rash and washing and sanitizing hands often for those who travel to Europe, North America or Australia.
The new alert level comes as monkeypox continues to pop up with confirmed cases across thirty-two countries, mostly among people who have not recently traveled to central or western Africa, where monkeypox cases typically originate in countries including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
According to the CDC, as of June 6 there have been 31 recorded cases of monkeypox in the United States since it began spreading around the world earlier this year.
The CDC also recommends that travelers should seek help from a medical facility and self-isolate if they develop an unexplained rash or lesions on any part of the body, especially if they’ve been traveling in Europe, North America or Australia within the past month, and/or is a man who has had any intimate contact with another man within the same period, though the CDC warns that travelers of any sexuality should practice increased caution during travel.
If a traveler develops a rash or monkeypox-like symptoms during a trip, they are encouraged to seek medical attention wherever they are.
Earlier in May, countries that have identified the presence of monkeypox in their borders have begun implementing quarantine measures for monkeypox patients; the United Kingdom and Belgium both now require monkeypox patients to self-isolate for 21 days.
From May 23 to June 7, the number of countries that have identified positive cases of monkeypox have risen dramatically. On May 23, there were 12 countries that had reported cases; today, the CDC reports 32 countries.
The CDC does also state that “risk to the general public is low,” despite the new recommended precautions.
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