26 September 2023

Rising case numbers prompt Monkeypox warning

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NSW Health has come out to urge the community to be aware of the symptoms of monkeypox following likely transmission of the virus within Australia.

Executive Director of Health Protection at NSW Health, Dr Jeremy McAnulty said people needed to be on alert for monkeypox symptoms now that local transmission may be occurring, “especially among men who have sex with men.”

“People need to be aware of the symptoms of monkeypox, which can include fever, headache, body aches and a rash or lesions on the genital area,” Dr McAnulty said.

“So far, in the cases we have seen in NSW, monkeypox is not presenting the way some people expect, such as an extensive rash or lesions all over the body,” he said.

“It could just be a couple of what seem to be pimples in the genital area or buttocks, so people need to pay careful attention to any potential symptoms.”

Dr McAnulty said most local cases to date had presented to sexual health clinics, rather than GPs.

He said people who had any of the symptoms should immediately call ahead to their GP or sexual health service for an appointment, tell them of their symptoms and make sure they wore a mask as a precaution.

“The virus is mainly spread through skin to skin contact with the lesions or rarely through close contact with large respiratory droplets from a person early on in their infection,” the Executive Director said

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

He said monkeypox was a rare viral infection previously associated with travel to Central and West Africa however, thousands of cases of monkeypox had been reported from several countries that were not endemic for the virus this year, including several European countries and the United States.

Further information on monkeypox can be accessed at this PS News link.

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