CDC Says You Should Wear a Mask While Traveling — for Monkeypox
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is stepping up its guidance concerning monkeypox. While the risk of monkeypox is still thought to be low for the general public, the agency is now warning people to take more precautions while traveling. These precautions include avoiding contact with visibly sick people as well as wearing a mask.
The CDC changed its language over the weekend. As detailed in its travel notice concerning monkeypox, it now considers the situation to be a level 2 alert, which merits some enhanced precautions. The highest level is 3, which recommends against any non-essential travel to affected areas.
Monkeypox is thought to be native to rodents, and up until recently, it has only occasionally caused human outbreaks in parts of Africa where it may be endemic. This year, however, there have been around 1,000 cases confirmed or suspected in more than two dozen countries, including the United States. Many of these cases have had no recent travel history to Africa, suggesting that the virus is spreading locally between people.
Monkeypox Offers New Cause for Contact Tracing
With 31 monkeypox cases confirmed in 12 states and the District of Columbia and growing concern about community spread, federal and state public health officials are turning to a frayed page in the pandemic playbook: Using contact tracing to track exposure risk.
Why it matters: Contact tracing proved an ineffective tool for an airborne virus like COVID-19 with a short incubation period, but monkeypox is different.
Driving the news: Officials are turning to contact tracing in the hopes that identifying close, high-risk contacts of infected people will prevent further spread of the virus.
- “Health departments should be capable of doing contact tracing — the only thing that concerns me is the public reaction to it,” Richard Garfein, an epidemiologist at the University of California San Diego School of Public Health, told Axios.
- If close contacts of people who test positive are too crisis-fatigued or suspicious to pick up the phone when a public health worker calls, contact tracing will become less effective, Garfein added.