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Higher Alert for Monkeypox

This post has been updated to reflect that the CDC does not recommend facemasks while traveling as a precaution against monkeypox.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has elevated its alert level for monkeypox, as there have now been more than 1,000 confirmed cases, CNBC reports.

With this move to a level two alert, the CDC calls on the public to take precautions such as avoiding contact with individuals or animals who are sick, especially if they have skin lesions. The agency notes, though, that the risk to the general public is low. Monkeypox is typically spread through close contact.

Monkeypox is endemic to West and Central Africa, but cases have recently been identified outside of those regions in Europe, North America, and Australia. According to CNBC, as of Monday, there have been 1,019 confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox in 29 countries, with about 300 of those cases in the UK.

CNBC notes that previous monkeypox cases outside of endemic areas have usually been linked to travel, but analyses of samples from this outbreak suggest that the virus may have been circulating undetected outside endemic regions and that two strains may be in the US.