26 September 2023

Monkeypox detection sparks health alert

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SA Health has issued a statewide health alert following the detection of monkeypox in the neighbouring States of NSW and Victoria.

Issuing the alert, Director of Communicable Disease Control Branch at SA Health, Dr Louise Flood said the infection was caused by monkeypox virus, which was endemic in central and west Africa, with cases outside Africa usually detected in returned travellers.

Dr Flood said two cases of monkeypox had been reported in Australia in returned overseas travellers in Victoria and New South Wales.

Australian Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Sonya Bennett said the National Incident Centre had been activated to support after the confirmed cases, with one traveller from the United Kingdom and the other through Europe.

Dr Flood said that as of 20 May, 15 countries had reported 27 confirmed and 45 suspected cases of monkeypox.

The Director said human-to-human transmission resulted from close contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions (including during sexual contact) or recently contaminated objects (e.g. bedsheets).

”The incubation period is five to 21 days but is typically six to 13 days,” she said.

“Monkeypox is usually a self-limiting disease with the symptoms resolving within two to four weeks.”

Dr Flood said complications of monkeypox could include secondary infections, bronchopneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis and loss of vision if the cornea was involved.

She said symptoms included fever, headache, back pain, myalgia, fatigue, lymphadenopathy and a rash which usually commenced within one to three days of the fever.

Dr Flood said the rash usually started in the mouth, developed into papules, vesicles, then pustules, which crusted and fell off, and lesions may be present on palms, soles, genitalia and eyes (conjunctiva and cornea).

More information about Monkeypox can be accessed at this PS News link.

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