Monkeypox infections in Australia stabilising, Health Minister says

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler addresses a press conference on monkeypox.
Federal Health Minister Mark Butler. Image: YouTube

Federal Health Minister Mark Butler says the number of monkeypox infections in Australia is “stabilising significantly” as more vaccine doses are set to arrive “very shortly”.

There have been 135 infections in total since monkeypox was first confirmed in Australia in May, Butler said on Monday.

“There’s about 65,000 cases [in non-endemic countries such as] North America, South America, UK, Europe and elsewhere; 135 of those are in Australia,” he said.

“Only about three new cases have been reported over the last seven to 10 days. And the reporting period before that, only five new cases.

“We can take some confidence those numbers of new infections are stabilising substantially.”

Victorian CHO pleased by drop in cases, but vaccination crucial

On Friday, Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton praised his state’s response to monkeypox after locally-acquired infections spiked, and then dropped.

Since May, Victoria has recorded the most monkeypox cases in Australia at 67. However cases have only grown by two since September 2.

“Victoria has had no MPX [monkeypox] cases for a few weeks now, having had significantly early growth in cases,” Brett Sutton tweeted.

“Lo and behold, those pillars of a public health response work.

“Case isolation, contact tracing and early testing through close engagement with at-risk community. Well done!”

Brett Sutton also particularly thanked Victorian gay and bisexual men, who have been disproportionately impacted by monkeypox, for their “responsiveness and engagement”.

“With over 60,000 cases globally, the risk will continue for some time, so MPX vaccination will be really important to manage risk now and into the future,” Sutton stressed.

The Kirby Institue’s Professor Andrew Grulich told The Age monkeypox case numbers had also declined elsewhere in the world, including in North America and Europe, after spiking in July and August.

But Grulich stressed the risk of an outbreak here remains until more at-risk Australians get vaccinated.

78,000 monkeypox vaccine doses to arrive ‘shortly’

Last month, federal Health Minister Mark Butler announced the government had secured 450,000 doses of the latest monkeypox vaccine.

But only 22,000 doses were delivered last month, and supplies have been scarce. Mark Butler said on Monday more doses were set to arrive “very shortly”.

“We were one of the very few countries to be able to negotiate access to the third generation vaccine for monkeypox,” Butler said.

“22,000 doses of that vaccine have already been delivered. That’s been now administered in a very productive way in particularly the two major states, but elsewhere as well.

“And we are due to receive an additional 78,000 doses very shortly.

“Once those timeframes are a little clearer, I’ll provide further advice about second doses.”

Queensland records fifth monkeypox case

On Saturday, Queensland Health confirmed one new monkeypox case has been identified in Queensland, the state’s fifth case since May.

A Queensland Health spokesperson said the person had recently travelled through south-east and central Queensland, and authorities had contacted “a small number” of close contacts.

“Where possible, close contacts have been contacted directly, as per standard contact tracing protocols,” the spokesperson said.

“Monkeypox is a rare but potentially serious viral illness spread person-to-person via close contact.

“Monkeypox symptoms include a distinctive rash, fever, headaches, body aches or swollen lymph nodes.

“Anyone with symptoms should consult their GP or sexual health provider.

“As more vaccine becomes available, Queensland Health will continue to contact and offer it to those most at risk of infection, as well as close contacts and newly diagnosed cases.”

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

1 Comment

  1. Paul
    27 September 2022

    Cuba legalized SSM – the referendum vote was 66% YES!

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