Western Australia has confirmed its first case of monkeypox in an overseas traveler who returned home to Perth on Thursday.
The state health department confirmed the person is in isolation and not showing any severe symptoms. Public health officials have started contact tracing.
Director of Communicable Disease Control Paul Armstrong said travelers returning from high-risk areas should remain cautious.
“Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, either direct contact with open lesions or prolonged direct contact or with material contaminated with the virus,” said Dr. Armstrong.
“A person with monkeypox can spread the infection to other people through skin lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials such as bedding.”
There are now 54 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Australia.
These include 30 in New South Wales, 19 in Victoria, 2 in the Australian Capital Territory, 1 in Queensland and 1 in South Australia.
Most of the recent cases of monkeypox in Australia were transmitted abroad.
Health experts say the spread of the disease – which is less communicable than Covid – can be effectively controlled through isolation measures.
Transmission of the disease usually requires direct skin-to-skin or prolonged personal contact with an infected person.
Symptoms may initially include fever, chills, muscle aches, back pain, and swollen lymph nodes.
Afterward, people develop a rash that can appear as small sores all over the body.
Most people with monkeypox do not require treatment and fully recover from the disease within a few weeks.
The disease is endemic in 11 African countries, where mortality rates range from three to six percent.
An ongoing global outbreak of the virus has now spread to the UK, Europe, North America, the Middle East and other areas, many of which are recording their first cases of the disease.
Originally published as Western Australia, case of monkeypox is confirmed