Monkeypox and Travel: What You Need to Know


A woman travels during the monkeypox pandemic

As cases of monkeypox rise worldwide, the World Health Organization has declared the disease a global emergency. In the US there are 6,300 known cases with numbers growing every day.

What does this mean for travel? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cases among travelers are rare. However, as the disease spreads, it’s a good idea to take precautions when traveling.

How to protect yourself when travelling

  • Avoid close contact: Monkeypox is not known to be airborne and is thought to be transmitted through direct contact with someone infected with the virus. Do not hug, kiss, or touch anyone who has a rash or skin or genital lesions. Avoid sharing cutlery and cups, and avoid a sick person’s clothing or bedding.
  • Wash your hands: Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and water. Also have hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Stay away from animals when traveling: Do not touch live or dead wild animals such as rodents and primates such as monkeys or apes. Do not eat game meat or use products such as creams or lotions derived from African wild animals.
  • Watch out for symptoms: If you develop a fever or develop an unexplained rash or skin lesion after a trip, contact your doctor immediately. Avoid contact with others and do not use public transport until you have received the okay from medical professionals.

What about the monkeypox vaccine?

In June, the US government announced that 56,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine would be immediately distributed across the country, with several million more arriving over the next few months.

The vaccine is called JYNNEOS and is FDA approved. It can help reduce the risk of monkeypox infection when given within 4 days of exposure, and when given within 14 days of exposure it can reduce the risk of serious illness. Because vaccine quantities are limited, eligibility is restricted to those most at risk of exposure, and you must be at least 18 years of age to receive the vaccine.

Although there is no formal CDC guidance yet, the vaccine is free in most states and is available to immigrants regardless of their immigration status.

The White House also announced this strengthen access to monkeypox testing across the country, starting with 78 testing sites in 48 states.

To learn more about the monkeypox vaccine, Click here.


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