Monkeypox and Travel: What You Need to Know Before You Go
Can you travel if you have monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by the monkeypox virus. It is similar to smallpox, but it is not as severe. Monkeypox can be transmitted to humans through contact with infected animals, such as monkeys and rodents, or through contact with body fluids or skin lesions of an infected person. While the disease is rare, it is important to be aware of monkeypox if you are planning to travel.
Talk to Your Healthcare Provider If You Were Exposed or Have Symptoms
If you have been exposed to someone with monkeypox or if you are experiencing symptoms, it is important to speak to your healthcare provider before you travel. Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. A rash then develops, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body. If you have symptoms, do not travel until you confirm that you do not have monkeypox.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and for people who are at higher risk of being exposed to monkeypox. If you are unsure about whether you have been vaccinated, talk to your healthcare provider before you travel.
Do Not Travel If You Have Monkeypox
If you have monkeypox, it is important to isolate at home or in another location until your symptoms are gone and your rash has healed. This means until all scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed. It is important not to travel while you are infected, as this can spread the disease to others.
If you must travel while infected with monkeypox, take the following steps to prevent the spread of the disease to others:
- Make sure that you do not have fever or respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough.
- Cover your rash and wear a well-fitting mask.
- Take additional steps to prevent spread to others, such as washing your hands frequently and avoiding close contact with others.
Additional Travel Considerations
If you test positive for monkeypox while at an international destination, you may be subject to local public health laws and regulations. These could include requirements to isolate and to not travel until you are no longer considered contagious. If you have been in close contact with a person who has monkeypox and travel internationally, you may be subject to local public health laws and regulations. These could include requirements to quarantine and not travel until you are no longer at risk for developing monkeypox.
Some countries are screening arriving passengers for monkeypox symptoms. If you have symptoms, you may be required to isolate and to be tested for monkeypox. Check your destination’s ministry of health or US embassy website to learn about arrival procedures.
If you need medical care abroad, it is important to be aware that some treatment options may not be available in some countries. Consider travel health and medical evacuation insurance to ensure that you can receive the care you need in the event of an emergency.
Monkeypox is a rare disease, but it is important to be aware of the risks if you are planning to travel. If you have been exposed to someone with monkeypox or if you are experiencing symptoms, speak to your healthcare provider before you travel. If you are infected with monkeypox, do not travel until your symptoms have cleared up. If you must travel while infected, take steps to prevent the spread of the disease to others. By taking these precautions, you can help to protect yourself and others from monkeypox.