The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday recommended mask wearing and other health measures to prevent the spread of monkeypox, a disease that is now being reported globally.
Monkeypox began spreading in March. It has an incubation period of between seven to 14 days. Symptoms of monkeypox typically include fever, chills, exhaustion, headache and swelling of lymph nodes, as well as lesions that develop on the hands and soles of the feet and can spread to the rest of the body.
The virus is typically transmitted from animals but can also be transmitted from humans, with recovery occurring within several weeks, according to the CDC.
Cases of monkeypox have been reported in 32 countries as of Monday, including Australia, Canada, England, France, Italy, Mexico, Scotland, Sweden and the United States. The CDC has now updated its monkeypox guidelines to level 2 and recommends travelers to practice enhanced precautions, which include wearing masks.
Other health measures recommended by the CDC include avoiding close contact with people with skin lesions, dead or live wild animals and materials possibly contaminated by sick people or infected animals.
The CDC also urges the public to seek medical care if they develop any unexplained skin rash or experience symptoms associated with the disease.
The CDC’s updated guidelines come as the U.S. rolls out about 1,200 doses of the monkeypox vaccine. U.S. health officials Friday also said they plan to ramp up testing and contract tracing to prevent the spread of monkeypox across the country.
“We want to ensure that people with high-risk exposures have rapid access to vaccines and, if they become sick, can receive appropriate treatment. To date, we’ve delivered around 1,200 vaccines,” Dr. Raj Panjabi, White House senior director for global health security and biodefense, told CNN. “And 100 treatment courses to eight jurisdictions, and we have more to offer states.”
The U.S. currently has two vaccines licensed to prevent monkeypox, including the two-dose Junneos vaccine and the ACAM2000. Health care workers in Massachusetts who are working to treat patients with monkeypox were among the first to receive the vaccine shots.