Monkeypox: Symptoms, Treatment And How It’s Spread

The outbreak has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation.

While the world grapples with yet another COVID-19 wave, another virus known as ‘monkeypox’ or ‘MPX’ is emerging. With monkeypox case numbers accelerating at an alarming pace, the outbreak has been declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation (‘WHO’).

Are there monkeypox cases in Australia?

Monkeypox was first confirmed in Australia on 20 May 2022. As of 24 July 2022, there are now 44 cases (confirmed and probable) of monkeypox in Australia, according to the Department of Health and Aged Care. 24 of these cases are in New South Wales, 16 in Victoria, two in the Australian Capital Territory, one in Queensland and one in South Australia.

How is monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox spreads mainly through close contact or via direct contact with infected bodily fluids (e.g. contact with someone with sores or contact with their clothing or objects they have touched). Monkeypox may also be transmitted during sex.

How can I avoid catching monkeypox?

The most effective way to prevent catching monkeypox is to avoid close physical contact with infected persons as well as coming into contact with any clothing or items that have been used or touched by an infection person.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

According to the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, monkeypox symptoms can include: 

Ulcers, sores and scabs
Exhaustion or fatigue
Swollen lymph nodes
Body aches

The rash’s appearance can vary from person to person but may appear across the face, genitalia, inside the mouth, and on the hands and feet. This rash may turn to pus-filled lesions which can leave behind scars – like chickenpox.

How long does it take for symptoms to appear?

Monkeypox has a typical incubation range (meaning the amount of time it takes for symptoms to appear following infection) of seven to 14 days. However, this can range from as short as five or as long as 21 days.

Is there a cure?

Fortunately, most people who get monkeypox don’t need treatment and will fully recover within around two to four weeks. In rare cases, those with severe cases of monkeypox may require intensive care. Generally, most people who contract monkeypox will be able to recover at home with the aid of painkillers and oral fluids.

Is there a vaccine?

The smallpox vaccine has been shown to be around 85 per cent effective in preventing monkeypox in several observational studies, according to the WHO. In Australia, the smallpox vaccine is currently only recommended for known high-risk close contacts of monkeypox cases.

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