In response to increasing monkeypox diagnoses across multiple countries, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has upgraded its travel advisory for the virus.
Although the monkeypox risk to the public is still considered low, the CDC recommends anyone experiencing an unexplained skin rash avoid contact with others.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization on Sunday updated its latest tally of confirmed monkeypox infections, indicating that as of Thursday, more 257 monkeypox cases had been confirmed with laboratory testing worldwide, with another 120 cases suspected. No deaths linked to the outbreak have been reported.
According to the WHO, the United Kingdom remains the hardest-hit nation with 106 cases, followed by Portugal with 49 and Canada with 26 confirmed cases and between 25 and 35 presumptive cases. Only 10 monkeypox cases have been confirmed to date in the United States.
According to the CDC, the Level 2 alert issued Thursday for travel to more than a dozen nations encouraged travelers to take the following precautions to avoid exposure:
- Avoid close contact with sick people, including those with skin lesions or genital lesions.
- Avoid contact with dead or live wild animals such as small mammals including rodents (rats, squirrels) and non-human primates (monkeys, apes).
- Avoid eating or preparing meat from wild game (bushmeat) or using products derived from wild animals from Africa (creams, lotions, powders).
- Avoid contact with contaminated materials used by sick people (such as clothing, bedding, or materials used in healthcare settings) or that came into contact with infected animals.
According to Forbes, the CDC’s upgraded alert moved from a Level 1 travel advisory, or “Watch level,” to a Level 2 advisory, or “Alert level.”
By contrast, a Level 3 travel advisory would reach the “Warning” level, prompting an “Avoid Nonessential Travel” recommendation, the news outlet reported.