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Monkeypox exposure in third Australian state


Matt Woodley


16/06/2022 5:11:05 PM

Identification of the latest case comes as the WHO investigates reports that the virus is present in the semen of infected patients.

Positive monkeypox samples.
Eight monkeypox cases have been confirmed in Australia to date, five in New South Wales and three in Victoria. (Image: AAP)

WA Health has revealed a visitor who travelled through Perth last month was diagnosed with monkeypox after returning to the UK.
 
The case reportedly spent four days in the community while infectious but contact tracing has not identified any secondary cases and health authorities have said there is no ongoing risk to the public, despite five people having been identified as close contacts.
 
Eight cases have been confirmed in Australia to date, five in New South Wales and three in Victoria, with the first being picked up by a Sydney GP.
 
The latest brush with the disease comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) looks into reports that the monkeypox virus has been present in the semen of infected patients.
 
Many of the recent cases have reportedly been spread among sexual partners who have had close contact – particularly men who have had sex with men – but Dr Catherine Smallwood, the monkeypox incident manager at WHO Europe, said it is still not clear whether this means the virus can be sexually transmitted.
 
‘This may have been something that we were unaware of in this disease before,’ she said.
 
‘We really need to focus on the most frequent mode of transmission, and we clearly see that to be associated with skin-to-skin contact.’
 
Monkeypox has been found in central and west Africa for decades but is only now generating wider interest due to it spreading outside of countries where it is endemic.
 
Around 1600 confirmed cases and nearly 1500 suspected cases having been detected in 39 countries this year, including Europe and North America. It is the first time the disease has been known to spread among people who have no travel links to Africa.
 
The recent outbreaks, described as ‘unusual’ by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, have prompted an emergency committee meeting scheduled for 23 June to determine whether a public health emergency of international concern should be declared.
 
‘The magnitude of this outbreak poses a real risk,’ Dr Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, told a press conference Wednesday.
 
‘The longer the virus circulates, the more it will extend its reach, and the stronger the disease’s foothold will get in non-endemic countries.’
 
The WHO is also set to officially rename the viral disease, amid concerns of stigma and racism related to its current ‘discriminatory’ name.
 
More than 30 international scientists also recently wrote about an ‘urgent need’ for ‘non-discriminatory and non-stigmatising nomenclature for monkeypox virus’.
 
Initial symptoms of the illness include fever, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and joint aches and fatigue.
 
A rash then develops that often starts as flat red lesions, which become filled with fluid, and eventually scab over and fall off during a 2–3-week period.
 
Smallpox vaccination is effective against the disease, but the WHO has said mass immunisation is ‘not required nor recommended’ at this time.
 
For contacts of cases, post-exposure prophylaxis is recommended with an ‘appropriate second- or third-generation vaccine’, ideally within four days of first exposure to prevent onset of disease.
 
Pre-exposure prophylaxis is recommended for at-risk healthcare workers, laboratory personnel working with orthopoxviruses, clinical laboratory staff performing diagnostic testing for monkeypox, and others who may be at risk ‘as per national policy’.
 
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Dr Danene Hopkins   16/06/2022 7:11:18 PM

T’is interesting to ponder why chickens are less discriminating and stigmatising than monkeys