On Monday, the CDC raised its alert level for monkeypox to level 2, recommending that travelers wear masks.
Monkeypox, which begins with flu-like symptoms, causes swelling of lymph nodes and a rash across the body and face.
Lesions then form from the rash and can leave severe scarring on skin.
“Cases of monkeypox have been reported in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia,” the CDC said.
“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 alert said.
The CDC has reported that, as of June 3, there have been 21 recorded monkeypox cases in the U.S. related to the outbreak.
Dr. Amesh Adalja told NBC News that “What’s likely happened is an endemic infectious disease from Africa found its way into a social and sexual network and then was greatly aided by major amplification events, like raves in Belgium, to disseminate around the world”.
It’s possible that the disease may have gone undetected in Western countries, being mistaken for an STI.
The CDC advises travelers to “Avoid close contact with sick people, including those with skin lesions or genital lesions,” “Avoid contact with dead or live wild animals,” and “Avoid eating or preparing meat from wild game or using products derived from wild animals from Africa”.