Should travelers worry about monkey pox? LASTEST NEWS

Over the weekend, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared monkeypox a global health emergency, giving us all a flashback to early 2020.

This means that the WHO considers the outbreak to be a significant enough threat that a coordinated international response is needed.

There are currently more than 19,000 confirmed cases of Monkeypox worldwide and 44 confirmed in Australia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

So how will this affect international travel?

Dr. Michael Phillips, chief epidemiologist at NYU Langone Health, told USA Today that those who want to travel should not worry.

“This is the time when people want to travel and I’m sure they’re worried about losing their luggage,” he said.

“They shouldn’t add monkey pox to their list of worries.”

The CDC issued a Level 2 travel health advisory in late May warning travelers to “practice enhanced precautions,” advising travelers to take steps like washing their hands and avoiding touching their faces.

There is an approved vaccine for monkeypox in the US and Canada and the disease is quite rare as it is only spread by skin-to-skin contact.

Phillips said a person’s risk of exposure while traveling has more to do with what you’re doing, rather than where you’re going. She said protecting yourself is a matter of “avoiding risks,” such as sharing a bed or having close physical contact with someone you don’t know, and “being smart about that kind of thing.”

Fiji has introduced monkey pox screenings for travelers before proceeding to the immigration desk. Currently, the island country has no confirmed cases of monkey pox.

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an overseas travel warning on Monday, urging travelers to exercise caution regarding monkeypox.

The decision was made at a meeting of concerned government ministries and agencies to discuss Japan’s response to the WHO’s global emergency declaration regarding the spread of the monkeypox outbreak.

The travel advisory, the lowest “level 1” of a 4-step system, is for all countries and regions of the world.

While many travelers and agents around the world still have COVID on their minds, and it will likely be all they think about for years to come, monkeypox is different.

“It’s not fast-spreading like COVID or flu or other respiratory viruses are, so with good public health measures, education … and vaccination, there’s a good chance this will be brought under control,” Phillips said.

Featured Image: Pyrosky/iStock

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