The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised its monkeypox alert level, warning travelers to be wary of sick people but stopping short of recommending masks.
The CDC increased its alert to a level 2 on Monday, encouraging Americans to ‘practice enhanced precautions’ to put a stop to the outbreak. Over 1,000 monkeypox cases have been reported in nearly 30 countries as of Monday, with at least 31 cases reported across 13 US states.
The highest level alert — level 3 — would caution against nonessential travel. Earlier advice from the CDC encouraged travelers to wear face masks to prevent themselves from the monkeypox was dropped just 24 hours after it was first reported, according to the Daily Mail.
The agency’s guidance previously advised travelers to wear a mask: ‘Wearing a mask can help protect you from many diseases, including monkeypox.’ That guidance was added when the threat level was raised to a Level 2. While it remains the same threat, the guidance appears to have changed, according to Daily Mail.
Monkeypox symptoms appear similar to the flu at first, but also often include the swelling of lymph nodes and a rash across the body and face. Areas that break out in rashes often become painful lesions, which can leave severe scarring.
Most of those who have become infected have not traveled to the areas of Africa where monkeypox usually occurs, such as Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other parts of central and western Africa, according to the CDC.
Health officials have been examining whether at least some cases in the current outbreak may be spreading through sexual contact. Some of the cases have also involved people living with an infected person.
While the CDC has said the risk to the general public remains low, the new alert level encourages people to avoid close contact with sick individuals, as well as with dead animals.
Over 1,000 cases have been detected globally, with the most recorded in the UK at 302 suspected and confirmed infections. It is followed by Spain with 198, Portugal with 153 and Canada with 80.