The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel advisory on the scale of "alert level 2" for travelers to "practice enhanced precautions" amid the monkeypox outbreak.
The advisory warns travelers to avoid:
- Close contact with sick people, including those with skin lesions or genital lesions.
- Contact with dead or live wild animals such as small mammals including rodents (rats, squirrels) and non-human primates (monkeys, apes).
- Eating or preparing meat from wild game (bushmeat) or using products derived from wild animals from Africa (creams, lotions, powders).
- 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.
"Risk to the general public is low, but you should seek medical care immediately if you develop new, unexplained skin rash (lesions on any part of the body), with or without fever and chills, and avoid contact with others," the advisory reads. "If possible, call ahead before going to a healthcare facility. If you are not able to call ahead, tell a staff member as soon as you arrive that you are concerned about monkeypox."
Monkeypox is a mild viral infection that is endemic in certain parts of Africa, but the recent outbreak in countries where the virus does not usually spread has raised concerns.
The advisory listed cases of monkeypox being reported in 20 countries as of Thursday, including: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and the United States.
The CDC on Friday published recommendations by its group of independent experts on a smallpox vaccine that limit its use to only people who work closely with viruses such as monkeypox.
The Jynneos vaccine, made by Bavarian Nordic, will be available for certain healthcare workers and laboratory personnel at a time when monkeypox infections has spread in Europe, the United States, and beyond.
The vaccine was approved in the United States in 2019 to prevent smallpox and monkeypox in high-risk adults aged 18 and older.
CDC officials earlier this week said they were in the process of releasing some doses of the Jynneos vaccine for people in contact with known monkeypox patients.
Information from Reuters was used in this report.
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