New alert as monkeypox suddenly spreads in Australia

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, emaciation, and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

The deadly monkeypox virus first spread in Australia, and two people feared they had contracted the tropical disease through local transmission.

People in New South Wales have been warned to watch for symptoms of monkeypox after 11 cases of the virus were confirmed in the state on Tuesday.

Two cases are believed to have been received in Australia – the first of these was transmitted here. The remaining nine cases are believed to have occurred abroad.

“People should be aware of the symptoms of monkeypox, which can include fever, headache, body aches and rashes or lesions in the genital area,” said NSW Health Executive Dr Jeremy Macanulty.

“Until now, in the cases that we have seen in New South Wales, monkeypox has not manifested itself in the way that some people expect, such as extensive rashes or lesions all over the body.

“It could just be a couple of pimples in the genital area or buttocks, so people should pay close attention to any potential symptoms. Most of our cases to date have gone to sexual health clinics, not GPs.”

Dr Macanulty said people who have any of these symptoms should immediately call their GP or sexual health service to make an appointment, tell them about their symptoms and make sure they wear a mask as a measure. precautions.

“The virus is mainly spread through skin contact with lesions or rarely through close contact with large human respiratory droplets in the early stages of infection,” said Dr. Makanulty.

“It is important that people with symptoms avoid close contact with other people, including sexual activity, as condoms are not effective in preventing monkeypox transmission.”

The first case of monkeypox in Australia was reported on 20 May, with four more cases reported in Victoria and one in South Australia.

Another person had the disease in Western Australia but had already flown to the UK from Perth by the time he was diagnosed.

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, emaciation, and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

There is no cure, but symptoms usually disappear after two to four weeks. The disease is considered endemic in 11 African countries, where the mortality rate is between three and six percent.

The World Health Organization recently confirmed that it had 5,322 lab-tested cases of monkeypox during the current outbreak, 85 per cent of which are in Europe.

While the number of cases is rising rapidly, the United Nations health agency has not set a date for a second meeting of its monkeypox emergency committee.

“From January 1 to June 30 this year, we have 5,322 laboratory-confirmed cases and one death,” WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told reporters in Geneva.

In eight days, that number increased by 56 percent. The previous figure provided by the WHO for the period up to 22 June was 3,413 cases.

A surge in cases of monkeypox has been reported since early May outside West and Central Africa, where the disease has long been endemic.

According to Chaib, cases of infection have now been reported in 53 countries. “Eighty-five percent of cases are in Europe, followed by the African region, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean and the Pacific,” she said.

“WHO continues to ask countries to pay special attention to cases of monkeypox to try to stop further infection.” So far, most monkeypox infections have occurred in men who have sex with men at a young age and mainly in urban areas, according to WHO.

On June 23, the UN health agency convened an emergency committee of experts to decide whether monkeypox constitutes a so-called Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), the highest alert the WHO can raise.

But the majority felt that the situation had not yet crossed that threshold. However, they acknowledged the emergency nature of the outbreak and said that controlling its further spread requires an intensive response.

The Committee may meet again at any time, depending on the change in the situation. The 16-member WHO Emergency Committee on Monkeypox is chaired by Jean-Marie Okwo-Bele of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, former director of WHO’s Department of Vaccines and Immunization.

– with AFP

Originally published as New warning: Monkeypox spreads suddenly in Australia