ANOTHER case of monkeypox recorded in second Aussie state

·3-min read

A case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Victoria just hours after NSW Health authorities revealed a probable infection.

Victoria's health department confirmed the case on Friday afternoon, saying it was found in a returned traveller from the United Kingdom, AAP reports.

The man, aged in his 30s, is reportedly in isolation at The Alfred Hospital with mild symptoms.

NSW Health says it has also detected a possible case of monkeypox in a man in his 40s who recently returned from Europe.

He developed a mild illness several days after arriving back in Sydney.

Health officer uses a thermal head to detect a monkeypox virus on arriving passengers at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang near Jakarta. Source: Getty
Victoria's health department confirmed the case of monkeypox on Friday afternoon. Source: Getty

"He subsequently presented to his GP with symptoms clinically compatible with monkeypox," NSW Health said in an alert.

"Urgent testing was carried out which has today identified a probable case of monkeypox, with confirmatory testing underway."

Australia has joined a growing list of nations affected by the rare tropical illness, with cases also found in Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal and the US.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, and mostly occurs in west and central Africa.

Symptoms include fever, headaches and a distinctive bumpy skin rash starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body.

Although it is typically transmitted among animals, it can also travel from person to person through air droplets, close bodily contact or sharing contaminated objects.

Monkeypox outbreak is 'unusual', expert says

The current monkeypox epidemic in the UK is the largest outside of Africa, Professor Raina MacIntyre, head of the biosecurity program at the Kirby Institute at the University of NSW, said.

"Clusters have occurred among men who have sex with men, not a pattern seen before," she said.

"Perhaps the initial importation was spread at a venue or within a community that resulted in more spread in the same group.

"Although genital rash is mentioned, I understand in the UK it is not solely a genital rash, but involves a rash on the rest of the body."

The professor called the outbreak "unusual", and noted fears that asymptomatic infections are helping spread the virus to different locations.

"Asymptomatic infection may occur, but usually in people who have had the smallpox vaccine," she said.

The monkeypox virus belongs to a larger group of viruses that caused smallpox.

The vaccine used to eradicate smallpox can be used to protect against monkeypox and studies suggest it can even be effective when given after exposure to the virus, says Professor David Tscharke, head of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University.

Scott Morrison: 'We should be taking this seriously'

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said state health authorities were closely monitoring the situation.

"The advice I have is that it is a far less contagious condition than obviously Covid and things of that nature," Mr Morrison told reporters in Perth.

"We should be taking this seriously (but) at the same time I would say that no one should be alarmed at this point. We've got the best health authorities in the world."

With AAP/Reuters

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