The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) upgraded the monkeypox alert to level 2 on Monday, advising travelers to practice enhanced precautions, including wearing a mask.
⚠️NEW—the CDC has raised the Alert Level of #Monkeypox to Level 2 over the weekend—warning: “Travelers should wear a mask. Wearing a mask can help protect you from many diseases, including monkeypox”
➡️Why the heck was there no big CDC / media advisory on this?
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) June 6, 2022
The agency appears to have updated its website, erasing any direction advising travelers to wear masks. Instead, the CDC recommends travelers avoid close physical contact with infected people, wash their hands with soap and water, and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.
“People usually become infected with the monkeypox virus through contact with the skin lesions or bodily fluids of infected animals or humans (alive or dead), including respiratory droplets, or through contact with materials contaminated with the virus,” according to the CDC’s notice.
The CDC said monkeypox is a rare disease found throughout Central and West Africa, especially in tropical rain forests. People infected with the disease have been found in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia and Australia, according to the agency.
“Some cases were reported among men who have sex with men. Some cases were also reported in people who live in the same household as an infected person,” the CDC reported. (RELATED: Monkeypox Outbreak Appears To Be Driven By Gay Sex, Health Authorities Say)
The U.S. has 31 confirmed cases of monkeypox, according to the CDC. The agency reported several states with confirmed cases including California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.
One of Florida’s four cases was also included in the U.K.’s case count because the person tested positive while in the U.K., according to the CDC.
The agency advised that antivirals developed for smallpox and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) are among the limited therapy options for monkeypox.