The Australia Department of Health (DOH) the National Incident Centre has been activated to support the national response after Victoria and New South Wales both confirmed a monkeypox case today.
Victoria Health reports there is currently one case of monkeypox identified in Victoria, a man in his 30s who recently returned from the United Kingdom and is isolating away from the community.
Contact tracing is underway to identify close contacts who may be required to quarantine.
In New South Wales, NSW Health can now confirm a recently returned traveller from Europe has the monkeypox virus.
The man in his 40s continues to isolate at home, with care and support being provided by their GP and NSW Health.
The DOH says while a number of the recently identified cases have self-reported as gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men, monkeypox has not been described as a sexually transmitted disease, though it can spread through direct intimate contact during sex.
Internationally, cases have been reported in the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, France, the Canary Islands, the United States and Canada among others. Local transmission is thought to have occurred as the majority of the cases have not travelled to areas where the virus is endemic.
Monkeypox can cause an illness including, fever, chills, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion. A distinctive blistering rash can develop, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through different stages, like chickenpox, before finally becoming a scab.
The incubation period typically varies from 6 – 13 days from exposure but may be up to 21 days.
In endemic countries monkeypox is spread via interaction with animals (typically rodents) or consumption of wild game. Transmission of monkeypox occurs with very close contact with infected people (such as skin-to skin contact during intimate or sexual contact) and can also spread through respiratory transmission and contact with ‘fomites’ or infected surfaces (such as contaminated clothing, towels or furniture).
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- European health officials on Monkeypox transmission: ‘The likelihood of further spread of the virus through close contact, for example during sexual activities, is considered to be high’
- Nigeria statement on first monkeypox case in the UK linked to travel
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