Federal health officials said that 35 monkeypox cases have been reported across at least 14 U.S. states as of Tuesday, with several states reporting their first cases this week.
Cases of the rare virus have been located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Texas, Virginia, Washington state, and Washington, D.C., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in an update on June 7. Outside the United States, more than 900 cases have been found across 29 countries, the agency said.
Several days ago, the agency raised its travel alert to “Level 2” and asked travelers to “practice enhanced precautions” because of the spread of monkeypox. It said that the “risk to the general public is low, but you should seek medical care immediately if you develop new, unexplained skin rash (lesions on any part of the body), with or without fever and chills.”
Initially, the CDC recommended that travelers wear masks because of monkeypox. However, as of Wednesday, the references to mask-wearing appear to have been removed from the CDC’s website.
In its most recent update, the CDC said that 1,088 confirmed monkeypox cases were found across the world. Most of them were found in the United Kingdom, which reported 302; Spain, which reported 198; Portugal, which has 166; Canada, which reported 80; and Germany, also with 80.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the monkeypox global risk level is moderate because the virus is spreading in areas where it’s normally not found. But nearly all cases have resolved themselves without hospitalization. No deaths have been reported.
Monkeypox, a relative of pandemic-causing smallpox, is normally found in Western and Central Africa. It presents milder symptoms than its viral cousin, including swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, and a number of patients develop a rash that spreads all over the body and turns into fluid-filled lesions known as pox.
“A feature that distinguishes infection with monkeypox from that of smallpox is the development of swollen lymph nodes,” the CDC says on its website.
Officials with the CDC, WHO, and other health agencies have issued warnings to homosexual males about potentially spreading or contracting the virus. WHO officials said last month that an initial outbreak is suspected to have occurred at two rave-like events in Europe.
Countries that normally see monkeypox outbreaks and cases include Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and Sudan.