Travel Restrictions Possible as Countries Begin Mandating Quarantine for Monkeypox Patients

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As the number of monkeypox cases around the world continues to rise, some countries have implemented quarantines for infected patients and health officials could consider travel restrictions.

In Belgium, the government has introduced a mandatory 21-day quarantine for monkeypox patients, but close contacts are not required to self-isolate. In total, the country has registered four confirmed cases of monkeypox, according to CNBC.com.

The United Kingdom said people at high risk of catching the disease should self-isolate for 21 days, which includes household contacts or medical professionals who treated infected patients.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported there were around 100 confirmed cases in 12 countries, including the United States, U.K., Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal and Netherlands.

WHO officials said the reported cases have no links to travel from endemic African countries.

“Based on currently available information, cases have mainly but not exclusively been identified amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) seeking care in primary care and sexual health clinics,” WHO officials said in a statement.

As a result of the rising number of infections, Cornell Law School professor Kathy Bergin told Newswise.com that once WHO declares the viral infection an international emergency, travel restrictions are likely to follow.

“If an emergency is declared, the committee will also issue temporary recommendations to member states, and those will almost certainly caution against travel restrictions which, while helpful to limit spread initially, can devastate countries that rely on trade and tourism, especially those with fragile economies and limited health capacities,” Bergin said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a “Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions” travel alert for countries that have reported confirmed cases of monkeypox.

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