WA Health: Monkeypox virus update 11 August

WA Health has confirmed a second case of monkeypox virus in a returned overseas traveller in Western Australia.

The case is in isolation, with WA Health closely monitoring their condition. The case remains well. Public health has conducted contact tracing and the risk to the public is considered to be very low.

This case is not linked to the previous case announced last week.

While the risk to the community from this case is very low, returned travellers are being urged to monitor for symptoms of the monkeypox virus.

The Communicable Disease Control Directorate’s Director, Dr Paul Armstrong said returned travellers, particularly from areas with high numbers of monkeypox cases, should remain vigilant for symptoms.

“We are asking the community to continue to be vigilant and watch for signs of the virus,” Dr Armstrong said.

“Monkeypox is spread to humans through close contact with an infected person, either by direct contact with open lesions or prolonged face to face contact, or with material contaminated with the virus.”

“A person with monkeypox can transmit the infection to other people through direct contact with skin lesions, or via respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.”

“The initial symptoms of the illness may include flu-like symptoms such as fever or headache. A rash typically develops that appears as bumps, pimples or sores, and develops into fluid-filled lesions, pustules or ulcers. The rash can be widespread or localised to one area.”

“While the current overseas outbreak has disproportionately impacted men who have sex with men, anyone who has had close contact with a person with monkeypox is advised to self-monitor for symptoms.

“People who develop symptoms of monkeypox should isolate, wear a mask and contact their GP or a sexual health clinic, who can advise about testing for monkeypox.”

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that is endemic in Central or West Africa, although there has been a global increase in monkeypox cases reported from non-endemic countries since May 2022. The highest number of cases have been reported in European countries, the United Kingdom and North America, however, cases are being identified across the world.

WA Health continues to monitor an emergence of monkeypox virus infections in the eastern states and internationally, with 66 cases recorded in Australia.

People from across WA identified as eligible for the first supply of vaccine will be contacted by WA Health and offered the vaccine.

Further doses of vaccine for Western Australia are expected later in the year, at which time the priority groups for vaccination will be expanded.

Future updates regarding Monkeypox will be provided here

See this factsheet from the World Health Organisation.

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