Urgent warning over infectious disease

Monkey Pox. Cells.  Microscope Slide
Monkeypox Virus. 3D Render

Health officials have issued an urgent warning after a highly infectious disease was detected for the first time since 2022.

South Australia has reported three locally acquired cases of mpox (formerly monkey pox), the first in the state since 2022.

Three men, one in his 20s, one in his 30s and one in his 50s, have been diagnosed with the virus, as officials assuring that the risk to the general public is low.

This is due to transmission usually requiring prolonged, close or intimate contact.

Monkey Pox. Cells.  Microscope Slide
Three cases of mpox have been detected in South Australia.

Last year, there had been no cases in SA and only two in 2022 when the global outbreak occurred.

In 2024, there have been 67 cases of mpox in the country, with 45 of these cases reported in Victoria.

Mpox’s name was changed due to claims it was stigmatising and racist.

Mpox is a viral infection that causes a rash, with symptoms including a fever, chills, exhaustion, headache, muscle aches and backache and swollen lymph nodes.

Symptoms can occur up to 21 days after exposure, with it being transmitted through prolonged or close skin-to-skin contact such as during sexual contact, contaminated items or surfaces.

An mpox vaccination is available, with free vaccines offered to eligible groups and all sexually active gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men.

Communicable Disease Control Branch deputy director Dr Louise Flood is encouraging everyone who is eligible to get their vaccine.

Mpox on a hand. Picture: Supplied
Mpox on a hand. Picture: Supplied

“The Risk to the public is low. Mpox is not easily transmitted from person to person without prolonged close or intimate contact,” she said.

“If you do think you have mpox, seek medical advice and get tested.”

What is Mpox?

Mpox is a zoonosis, which is a virus or disease spread to humans from animals. This usually occurs in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa through contact with animals such as rodents, or eating wild game.

There is currently no evidence of spread from animals to humans in Australia.

Male hands with Monkeypox rash. Patient with MonkeyPox viral disease. Close Up of Painful rash, red spots blisters on the skin. Human palm with Health problem. Banner, copy space. Allergy, dermatitis.
Mpox is spread through contact with bodily fluids.

This disease is spread mainly through direct contact with infected body fluids, lesions or scabs onto the skin. It’s also spread through contact with respiratory droplets, such as sneezing, coughing, speaking or breathing.

In the 2022 outbreak, a large proportion of the cases affected men who were sexual active with other men.

Most cases of mpox are mild and can be left without medical treatment, with mild cases only needing paracetamol for the pain and to stay hydrated.

Individuals who are immune compromised are at greater risk of serious cases of mpox.