20th May 2022 – (Sydney) The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) announced on Friday afternoon the nation’s first “probable” case of the monkeypox virus, which has been spreading through Europe.
The case comes from a NSW man in his 40s who recently returned from Europe.
The disease usually occurs in the African continent, but has been spreading across the globe in May of 2022 in non-endemic countries, predominantly in Britain.
NSW’s Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the disease could not spread easily between people.
“People can contract monkeypox through very close contact with people who are infected with the virus,” said Chant.
“The infection is usually a mild illness and most people recover within a few weeks,” she said.
Doctors and health centers across the state have been alerted to raise their awareness for potential further cases in the state.
Similarly, authorities in the Australian state of Victoria have warned citizens about the disease in returned travellers.
Raina MacIntyre, head of the Biosecurity Program at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), said that the disease is closely related to the virus that caused smallpox.
“It is a respiratory virus, but does not usually spread easily between humans, and usually only in close contacts. Infection rates of contacts in previous studies are about 3 percent,” said the professor.
She said that existing smallpox vaccines would be effective against monkeypox, and recommended the nation stock up on vaccines should the outbreak further unfurl.