The Latest on Monkeypox


Have you heard the latest about a new virus called monkeypox? Yes, just when we all started to get used to living with COVID-19, another virus has appeared on the scene.

The “New Scientist” magazine reports (28th May 2022) that monkeypox is a virus that usually spreads amongst monkeys in Central and West Africa, and the first human case was identified in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970.

Monkeypox is spread by droplet exposure via inhaled respiratory droplets and by contact with infected skin lesions or contaminated materials such as clothing or bedding used by an infected person. It can also be transmitted by direct contact during sex.

The first symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. A rash can develop, typically appearing on the face first and then on other parts of the body. Apparently, the rash can look like chickenpox, before forming scabs.

As at the 28th May 2022, 172 monkeypox cases had appeared world-wide, including a man in NSW who had just returned from Europe. At the time of writing (Monday 6th June 2022) a fourth and potential fifth case of the disease have been reported in NSW

Fortunately, monkeypox is usually mild, with most people recovering within a few weeks without treatment. There is also an antiviral drug that can be used to treat monkeypox, and a vaccine as well.

NSW Health is urging people who have recently returned from overseas and have attended large parties or sex on premises venues to watch for symptoms. If symptoms appear, contact your GP or local sexual health clinic by phone or telehealth or call the NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624.

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