By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging health care providers to be on the lookout for cases of monkeypox.

The rare but potentially dangerous disease has now been reported in at least 13 U.S. states—and it’s now inching closer to Maryland.

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Two of our neighboring states, Pennsylvania and Virginia now have confirmed cases of monkeypox.

Washington, D.C., is also investigating a suspected case after the individual recently traveled to Europe.

The CDC says the virus can spread from person to person via infectious sores, scabs or bodily fluids.

Experts at Johns Hopkins are closely watching the cases.

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“Monkeypox spreads at close contact through respiratory droplets. Can it spread across a room in a way where the virus drifts a long distance? At this point, we don’t have any evidence that it is doing that. It appears to be spreading again through close contact or through direct physical contact, skin on skin contact,” says Dr. Tom Inglesby, Director of the Bloomberg School’s Center for Health Security

The CDC said the viral disease, which was first discovered in monkeys in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the late 1950s has now spread to at least 30 countries – including the U.S.

The virus is in the same family as Smallpox and although doctors say it’s generally less severe, the symptoms can still be extreme – like rashes and lesions all over the body, flu-like symptoms are also part of its trademark.

“The clinical community has not really ramped up testing as of yet. Testing is going on but not at the level it should be. And so we need to keep pushing that clinical information out, that awareness in communities out on the ground to try to increase the level of testing that is going on,” says Dr. Inglesby.

In Canada, health officials offered Monkeypox vaccines on Monday to people who are at high risk.

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Ava-joye Burnett