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Monkeypox is spreading across the world and appearing in multiple US states—and virus experts are carefully monitoring the situation. "At the moment, we are not concerned about a global pandemic," says Dr. Rosamund Lewis from the World Health Organization. "We are concerned that individuals may acquire monkeypox infection through high-risk exposure if they don't have the information they need to protect themselves." Monkeypox is spread through respiratory drops, skin-to-skin contact and bodily fluids—so here are places you are most likely to catch it. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Monkeypox is spread through respiratory drops and bodily fluids—so indoor bars and restaurants are particularly risky. "Any close contact will allow for spread," says Blossom Damania, a virologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Gyms are prime locations for accidentally transmitting respiratory drops to another person. "Every time there's an outbreak — and the more people get infected — the more chances monkeypox has to adapt to people," says Jay Hooper of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
Spas should be avoided during the monkeypox outbreak, due to potential close contact with other people in an enclosed environment and possible virus spread. "We expect more cases to be detected. We are asking countries to increase surveillance," says Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's Covid-19 technical lead. "This is a containable situation. It will be difficult, but it's a containable situation in the non-endemic countries."
Nail Salons are another place where people are forced into close physical contact. "It's a hard virus to transmit between humans," says Dr Michael Head, a leading global health expert from the University of Southampton, UK. "It needs very close contact, for example skin-to-skin contact with an individual who is infectious with a monkeypox rash. Between these new cases, there will have been that close contact."
WHO Issues Advisory For Gay, Bisexual Community
While anyone can get monkeypox, members of the gay and bisexual community are being advised to exercise caution. "Based on currently available information, cases have mainly but not exclusively been identified amongst men who have sex with men seeking care in primary care and sexual health clinics," says the WHO.
"It does not mean that gay or bisexual men are doing anything inherently wrong, or that the virus has changed or that it's sexually transmitted, it just means that this behaviour facilitates transmission in these networks," says Mateo Prochazka, infectious disease epidemiologist at the U.K. Health and Security Agency. "We wanted to make sure people understand that transmission is not exclusive to gay and bisexual men, it just happens that it has entered this network."
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.