Australia announces first confirmed case of monkeypox

Sydney, Australia, May 20 (EFE).- Australia on Friday announced its first confirmed case of monkeypox, as well as one probable case, in two returned travelers.

“There is currently one case of monkeypox identified in Victoria, a man in his 30s who recently returned from the United Kingdom and is isolating away from the community,” the state’s health authorities said in a statement on Friday.

It added that contact tracing was underway to identify anyone required to quarantine.

New South Wales Health also reported a probable case in a man in his 40s who recently returned to Sydney from Europe. Both the traveler and a household contact are under home isolation, according to a statement.

Monkeypox is a rare virus that primarily occurs in central and west Africa, often in proximity to tropical rainforests, but has been recently detected in several European countries, as well as the United States and Canada.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said in a press conference Friday that monkeypox is not easily spread between people and that transmission required “direct skin-to-skin contact through broken skin, fluid or pus in lesions, or prolonged face-to-face contact via respiratory transmission,” according to 9News.

Some of the main symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue, as well as skin lesions.

NSW Health chief Kerry Chant said in the statement that “the infection is usually a mild illness and most people recover within a few weeks.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Perth on Friday that “we should be taking this seriously [but] at the same time I would say that no one should be alarmed at this point. We’ve got the best health authorities in the world.”

The WHO said vaccination against smallpox has proven to be about 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox.

Probable and confirmed cases of monkeypox have also been detected since the beginning of the month in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Spain, the US and Canada. EFE


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