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Monkeypox updates and risk assessment from Western Australia


A visitor who travelled through Perth last month was diagnosed with monkeypox after returning overseas. No secondary cases were identified in Western Australia following contact tracing by WA Health, and all contacts remain well.

There have not been any cases of monkeypox diagnosed in Western Australia.

Acting Director of the Communicable Disease Control Directorate, Dr Jelena Maticevic, said while there was no risk to the public from the visitor, people should be aware of monkeypox if travelling overseas given the growing number of cases being reported.

“Monkeypox does not spread easily among people. It is spread through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus,” Dr Maticevic said.

“The infection usually causes a mild illness and most people recover within a few weeks.

“The initial symptoms of the illness include fever, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and joint aches and fatigue. A rash then develops which often starts as flat red lesions, which become filled with fluid, and eventually scab over and fall off during a two to three week period.

“People with monkeypox should isolate and avoid contact with other people while they are infectious.

“We are asking clinicians to continue to be vigilant and watch for signs of the virus.”

WA Health conducts contact tracing to identify and provide advice to anyone who has had contact with a person with monkeypox and who may be at risk of infection.

Cases of monkeypox have been detected in New South Wales and Victoria, with most reporting overseas travel.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that is usually linked to travel to Central or West Africa, though it has been identified in other locations in recent weeks, including Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia. The spread of the virus is being monitored by the World Health Organisation.

Spread of the virus is usually through direct contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.

Most people who have monkeypox infection recover within two to four weeks, however severe illness can develop in a small percentage of people.

Young children, pregnant women and immunosuppressed people may be at higher risk of severe disease with monkeypox.

Anyone who develops symptoms, particularly if they have recently travelled overseas or had contact with a case, should call their GP for a telehealth appointment, or seek care at their nearest hospital. If going to hospital, it is important to call ahead and wear a mask.

Original content from Western Australia Department of Health. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.

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Nina Alvarez is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel. Her interests include writing, particularly about the healthcare sector and the many ways it can improve to further benefit people from all walks of life.


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