CDC raises the Monkeypox Travel Alert to Level 2 and revises its guidance

Monkey pox

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a new monkeypox travel warning. The CDC raised its monkeypox warning to level 2 on Monday, advising individuals to take “increased measures” to reduce their risk of catching the illness.

The third level of travel warnings would urge consumers to avoid unnecessary travel. “Monkeypox cases have been documented in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia,” according to the advisory. “There have been some reports of instances among males who have intercourse with men.” Some instances have also been observed in persons who share a home with an infected person.” The advisory also states that “many of these persons have not recently visited central or west African areas where monkeypox is often seen, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.”

The CDC briefly mentioned wearing a mask in the advisory, stating, “wearing a mask may help protect you from several infections, including monkeypox.” That suggestion, however, has subsequently been withdrawn.

Although public health officials highlight that the general population is at little risk of catching monkeypox, incidents continue to emerge throughout the country—and the globe.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new travel warning, as well as how to be safe.

Why was a travel advisory issued?

According to the CDC, the new travel warning was issued due to an increase in cases throughout the globe. “Monkeypox is still a problem in communities all over the globe,” says Amesh A. Adalja, M.D., a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “It is critical that people be aware of this information as they travel.”
According to William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious disease expert and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, public health authorities have also “had difficulty” in establishing where these instances of monkeypox have originated from. “Much of this transmission is sexual,” he observes. “This transmission is generally accelerated by personal touch.”
According to Dr. Schaffner, the advisory was issued because “people are going to other nations where they may participate in intimacies.”

Monkey pox

How does monkeypox spread?

How is monkeypox transmitted? According to the CDC, the monkeypox virus spreads when a person comes into touch with the virus from an infected animal, person, or objects contaminated with the virus.

Monkeypox is transmitted mostly via direct contact with infected sores, scabs, or bodily fluids. According to the CDC, it may also be transferred by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact and during intimate contact between individuals, particularly during intercourse, as well as activities such as kissing, snuggling, or touching.

According to the CDC, the virus may also be transmitted from animals to humans by the bite or scratch of an infected animal, handling wild game, or using goods derived from infected animals. Monkeypox may be acquired by direct contact with body fluids or sores on an infected person or through objects that have come into contact with body fluids or sores, such as garments or sheets.

How to Avoid Monkey Pox While Traveling

In their advisory on how to avoid monkeypox, the CDC provided the following advice:

  • Avoid close contact with ill persons, especially those who have skin or genital sores.
  • Avoid coming into touch with dead or living wild creatures such as rodents, squirrels, monkeys, and apes.
  • Avoid eating or cooking wild game meat.
  • Avoid using items produced from African wild animals, such as creams, lotions, and powders.
  • Avoid coming into touch with contaminated items used by ill people, such as clothes, bedding, or things used in hospital facilities, or with diseased animals.

While the alert is officially a travel alert, doctors believe the danger of acquiring monkeypox on an aircraft is negligible. “It is not the means of transportation or the manner of travel that imposes the danger; it is the activities that individuals participate in at other places that transfer the risk,” Dr. Adalja explains. “There have been reports of instances associated with raves,’ saunas,’ and other events where people travel to increase transmission.”

Dr. Schaffner concurs. “It doesn’t spread like COVID,” he explains.

According to Dr. Russo, it’s conceivable to get monkeypox aboard an aircraft, but it’s unlikely. “It actually demands direct interaction with ill patients, especially those with skin problems,” he explains. “It can spread by respiratory droplets.” It is plausible that transmission may occur if someone was afflicted in close proximity.” Dr. Russo believes this is why there was some short advice on disguising when traveling. “However, the danger of acquisition when traveling is negligible,” he says.

Dr. Adalja concurs. “While the respiratory transmission is conceivable with monkeypox, it is not an efficient mode of transmission—especially in this epidemic when direct contact is the major mode of infection,” he adds.

However, specialists emphasize the significance of covering up when traveling. “If you’re flying, I still advocate wearing a mask to guard against COVID,” Dr. Schaffner explains. Dr. Russo concurs. He said, “At this moment, the danger of contracting COVID-19 while traveling is greater than the risk of monkeypox”.