Two confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported in Australia – one in NSW and one in Victoria. Both cases are associated with overseas travel from Europe. Currently no cases have been reported in the ACT.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that does not spread easily between people. To date, most cases of monkeypox have occurred in Central or West Africa.
Cases of monkeypox have been identified in several non-endemic countries in recent weeks, including several European countries, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada.
ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said it was important to remember that monkeypox was rare and not easily spread between people, usually requiring direct skin-to-skin or prolonged face-to-face contact.
“Illness associated with the monkeypox virus is usually mild, although complications can occur,” Dr Coleman said.
“Symptoms initially include fever, chills, muscle aches, backache, and swollen lymph nodes.
“Following these symptoms, a rash usually develops, that spreads to other parts of the body. The rash changes and goes through stages, like chickenpox, before finally becoming a scab.
“If you have these symptoms, you should stay at home and phone your GP clinic to organise a telehealth appointment in the first instance, or you can phone the Canberra Sexual Health Clinic on (02) 5124 2184.
“If you need to attend an in-person appointment as part of a diagnosis, you should wear a mask and cover any lesions.
“It is extremely rare to have monkeypox if someone has not travelled to endemic countries or come in physical contact with a person who has monkeypox disease.”
A clinician alert had been issued to GPs and hospitals to provide advice on referral and diagnosis.
ACT Health is working closely with jurisdictional counterparts and the Commonwealth Department of Health to monitor for cases and ensure the best clinical and public health response to any further cases.
For more information on monkeypox, health.act.gov.au/monkeypox