Queensland Health has recorded the state’s first confirmed case of monkeypox in Brisbane.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection usually associated with travel to Central and West Africa.
However since May, numerous countries that are not endemic for the virus have reported over 5000 cases, predominantly in Europe and also the United States.
As of July 10, there were 23 monkeypox cases in Australia, including 16 in NSW, six in Victoria, and one in South Australia.
And Queensland Health said on Monday evening the state’s first detected positive case is self-isolating in Brisbane but the public health risk was considered “very low”.
“The positive case is currently self-isolating at home in Brisbane under virtual monitoring,” Health Minister Yvette D’Ath (pictured) said.
“Contract tracing is now under way to identify anyone who may have come into contact with the positive case. Potential close contacts will be contacted directly.
“Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness spread person-to-person via close contact.”
More information about monkeypox is available at the Queensland Health website.
NSW Health warns of likely local transmission
Many of the cases in the new international monkeypox outbreak are men who have sex with men. However the WHO has warned against stigma and stressed the virus can transmit to anyone.
While monkeypox can be serious, most people fully recover within weeks without the need for treatment.
Monkeypox can be spread through skin-to-skin contact, contact with contaminated items or surfaces, or prolonged exposure to respiratory droplets.
Last week, NSW Health warned they believe two of that state’s cases were likely contracted within Australia.
NSW Health Executive Director of Health Protection Dr Jeremy McAnulty said at the time 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,” he 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.
“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.
“Most of our cases to date have presented to sexual health clinics, rather than GPs.”
Most people recover from monkeypox within weeks
Dr McAnulty instructed people with any of these symptoms to immediately phone their GP or sexual health service for an appointment.
They should tell them of their symptoms and make sure they wear a mask as a precaution when attending.
NSW Health said symptoms begin seven to 14 days after exposure and most people recover within a few weeks.
“The virus mainly spreads through skin to skin contact with the lesions,” Dr McAnulty said.
“Or, rarely through close contact with large respiratory droplets from a person early on in their infection.
“It is important that people with symptoms avoid close contact with others, including sexual activity. Condoms are not effective at preventing the transmission of monkeypox.”
Last month, a gay man who caught monkeypox in the United States documented his experience in a viral TikTok.