What Is Monkeypox And What Could It Mean For Travel?

Are we heading towards another total lockdown of the travel industry? You might have heard of monkeypox as the next global pandemic, but what is it, and do we need to be concerned about upcoming trips?


Up until recently, monkeypox was an extremely rare virus, passed between monkeys and humans, with symptoms similar to smallpox. Some of the main symptoms include fever, muscle aches, and a rash.

The virus itself is nothing new. It was first identified in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, since May 2022, there has been a growing outbreak of cases across 70 non-endemic countries, and there are currently almost 21,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox.

The hardest hit countries include the United States with almost 5,000 cases and Spain with over 3,700 confirmed cases.

The virus has been declared a public health emergency by officials in New York City, who have dubbed the Big Apple the “epicenter” of the outbreak.

Over 1,300 of the cases in the US have been confirmed in residents of New York, and over 150,000 more locals are at risk of catching the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a level 2 travel advisory for monkeypox, which encourages travelers to “practice enhanced precautions”, including avoiding close contact with sick people and wild animals.

However, it’s worth noting that the CDC is not advising against travel at this time.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also issued its first global health emergency since the COVID-19 pandemic in response to the monkeypox outbreak, but there’s no need to panic. The WHO itself has stated that monkeypox is “unlikely to disrupt international travel right now.”

The chances of another 2020-style travel ban are slim. The threat monkeypox poses to the general public is low, and preventative measures such as good hygiene and avoiding those who are sick significantly reduce the risk of catching it. 

However, if the virus progresses, we may see individual travel warnings for countries with the highest outbreaks or prohibitions against visiting greatly affected countries except in essential circumstances.

Is it worth putting off booking your next trip? Absolutely not.  For now, the travel industry is “business as usual.”

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