Victoria Health issues alert for mpox, monkeypox, case detected in the community

Health authorities have issued an alert for mpox after the first locally acquired case was detected in nearly six months in Victoria.

The latest case of mpox, formally known as monkeypox, has not been linked to international travel.

Authorities believe the mpox case suggests local transmission may be occurring within the community.

Victoria Health urged those groups at highest risk to be aware of mpox symptoms and ensure they were fully vaccinated.

Acting chief health officer Christian McGrath said it was a particularly important time to be vigilant for symptoms, with increased travel at this time of year and several pride events in Victoria.

“If you develop symptoms, our advice is to stay home, restrict your contact with others and book in an appointment with your GP or nearest sexual health service,” he said.

Since May 2022, there has been a large international outbreak of mpox that has predominantly impacted men who have sex with men.

Victoria recorded 70 cases of mpox in 2022, while only eight cases were recorded in 2023 after increased awareness about free vaccinations available.

Dr McGrath urged anyone eligible who is not double vaccinated to make an appointment with a vaccine provider.

“For optimal protection you need two doses of the mpox vaccine administered at least 28 days apart,” he said.

Mpox is caused by infection with the mpox virus, which can develop into a rash, lesions or sores, fever, chills, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and sore throat.

The disease is mostly spread from person-to-person through prolonged physical or intimate contact with someone who has mpox.

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