The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised its alert to Level 2 and briefly recommended that travelers wear masks to protect themselves from the contagious monkeypox virus, Fox News has reported. The disease is primarily spread through direct contact with the sore of an infected person; however, infectious disease experts believe it can also be transmitted through prolonged, face-to-face contact with an infected person
A Level 3 alert — the highest of its kind — would discourage non-essential travel.
What are the details?
The CDC has stated that travelers should also be on the lookout for telltale signs of a monkeypox infection which include flu-like symptoms, a body-wide rash, and swelling of the lymph nodes.
In its alert, the CDC wrote, "Cases of monkeypox have been reported in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia ... Some cases were reported among men who have sex with men. Some cases were also reported in people who live in the same household as an infected person."
CNBC reported that the CDC "originally recommended on its website that travelers wear face masks to help prevent the spread of monkeypox but later removed it."
According to Fox, there have been 21 recorded monkeypox cases in the U.S. connected to the current outbreak.
CNBC reported that global cases have surpassed 1,000 across 29 countries at the time of this publication.
What else is there to know about this?
Professor Eyal Leshem, an infectious disease expert at Sheba Medical Center in Israel, told CNBC that the spread of monkeypox to non-endemic countries was not surprising considering the proliferation of international travel.
“Diseases that were locally spread are now able to make their way across countries and continents much more easily,” Leshem said. "Meanwhile, interaction between humans and animals has also amplified. Climate change has forced some animals into closer contact with humans, you will see more of these types of diseases."
On Monday, U.S. health experts said that it has at least 36,000 doses of a "suitable vaccine" for those people who have had "high-risk exposures" to the virus.