- The small but growing outbreak of monkeypox continues to spread worldwide.
- The CDC is now recommending travellers take "enhanced precautions" when leaving the country.
- Travellers should avoid contact with sick people and watch for common symptoms of the virus.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised its travel alert level for monkeypox on Tuesday, recommending that travellers practice "enhanced precautions" as monkeypox cases continue to pop up in countries around the world.
The CDC's "Level 2" alert means those leaving the US should avoid contact with sick people, "including those with skin lesions or genital lesions," as well as any items used by them.
Travellers should also avoid contact with wild animals — dead or alive — and avoid "eating or preparing" meat or using products from wild animals from Africa, the agency said.
Though they advised travellers to be careful, the CDC assured: "the risk to the general public is low."
Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, backache, and a rash. It can take up to three weeks to develop symptoms after catching the virus and the infection can last anywhere from two to four weeks. The virus can be fatal in a small percentage of cases and outbreaks normally are limited to areas in Africa.
The rash that the virus is known for often starts as flat, red bumps on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body, turning into blisters that fill with pus which eventually crust over and fall off.
The US currently has 34 confirmed cases of monkeypox, according to data from the CDC. The UK currently has 304 confirmed cases of the virus.
If you start to experience any of these symptoms, the CDC recommends heading to the doctor immediately and avoiding contact with other people. You should also let your doctor know if you've been in contact with someone who might have been infected or if you've travelled to a place where the virus has been spreading.
A high number of the cases have been reported in men who are gay, bisexual, or have had sex with other men but the disease is not restricted to them.
Anyone can catch the virus from close contact with an infected animal or person's lesions, bodily fluids, respiratory droplets, or contaminated materials, according to the World Health Organization.