With the ongoing Monkeypox outbreak now declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the WHO Director-General, misterb&b wants to help ensure our community is aware of the Monkeypox epidemic currently occurring, mainly in our community. We don't want another virus to ruin our holidays!
Monkeypox has been a disease of global public health importance since the first outbreak outside of Africa in 2003 in the US. Last Spring, in May 2022, multiple cases were identified in non-endemic countries, including the US, the UK, and Europe, leading to the largest ever global outbreak. While anyone can get it, the current epidemic is overwhelmingly affecting sexually active gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.
Facts about monkeypox
- Monkeypox is usually a self-limited disease. The virus causes pimple- or blister-like lesions and flu-like symptoms that can appear between 5 to 21 days after exposure and last from 2 to 4 weeks. They can be mild or severe, and lesions can be very itchy or painful.
- Much less contagious than Covid-19, it spreads through close contact with others, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials such as clothing, towels, or bedsheets. Though not considered a sex disease, it can spread through sex since it may involve close contact with lesions, body fluids, or sores on someone's skin.
- Monkeypox is genetically similar to smallpox, and doctors can use similar treatments: antiviral medication and vaccines that prevent severe symptoms. According to your location, the vaccine might be hard to find. It may be prioritized for those diagnosed, those exposed, or those from the most at-risk groups.
What to do if…?
If you have unusual sores or a rash or if someone who developed Monkeypox and with whom you've had prolonged and close contact in the last three weeks contacts you, get immediate medical attention. You may need to be tested, treated, vaccinated, and to isolate for up to 21 days.
If you're positive, it's important to inform anyone with whom you've had prolonged and close contact over the last three weeks, including misterb&b guests and hosts. This is how you allow them to get tested, receive proper treatment, and isolate to stop the spread.
Can I cancel a misterb&b stay because of Monkeypox?
If a host is unable to welcome their guests or if a guest cannot enjoy their stay because they developed Monkeypox, misterb&b considers the cancellation as eligible to the Force Majeure policy. Guests will get a full refund, whatever the host cancellation policy is. For hosts, no cancellation fee will apply.
How to cancel: Don't do it on your own on the platform! Please get in touch with customer service, and explain your situation. Once our agents have medical proof (a positive test, for instance), they can cancel the booking according to the Force Majeure policy. We will keep your health status strictly confidential at all times.
Our Force Majeure policy doesn't apply with Agency partners or Hotel bookings. For those bookings, we invite you to check with these partners directly (see our Terms & Conditions for Agency partners). To know if your booking is with an Agency Partner, check the listing and search for "gay-friendly agency selected by misterb&b" in the "About the Host" section or "Type of accommodation: Agency Partner" in the "Property Rules" for hotels. If you can't find these mentions, then your booking is a standard misterb&b booking and is eligible for Force Majeure.
How to reduce the risks while traveling?
- If you don't feel well or are notified about a contact with a Monkeypox case, don't travel or don't host and seek medical attention. You may need to isolate. If you're positive, inform anyone you've had prolonged and close contact with over the last three weeks. That may include misterb&b hosts or guests.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick or at risk: no kissing, hugging, sharing utensils, or touching the clothes of someone who is ill or has a rash. When traveling, don't touch wild animals or eat wild meat.
- Since Monkeypox can spread by touching an infected person's clothing, towels, and bedsheets, we remind hosts to follow appropriate cleaning protocols to avoid possible transmission. For example, you can follow the laundering instructions from the American CDC between each rental. Don't share towels, especially during stays in a shared space.
- Travelers visiting a destination for large LGBTQ+ events (Pride parades, festivals, parties, etc.) may want to be aware of skin-to-skin contact, especially when people wear minimal clothing.
- Finally, since the disease is mainly spreading in our community, you can find more recommendations to reduce risks during sex. We recommend the suggestions by Building Healthy Online Communities (BHOC), a consortium of public health leaders and gay dating websites and app owners working together to support HIV and STI prevention online.
Further Monkeypox resources
Please note that the links provided are a resource for the community and are not programs or services offered by misterb&b.
- World Health Organization
- CDC (US Centers for Disease Control)
- ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
- GHMC (Gay Men's Health Crisis)
- General Monkeypox information (Building Healthy Online Communities)
- The Monkeypox Gay Guide (Queer Health)