Western Australia has confirmed its first case of monkeypox from an overseas traveller who returned home to Perth on Thursday.
The State’s Health Department confirmed the person is in isolation and is not experiencing severe symptoms. Public health officials have commenced contact tracing.
Communicable Disease Control Directorate’s director Paul Armstrong said travellers returning from high-risk areas should remain cautious.
“Monkeypox is spread to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, either by direct contact with open lesions or prolonged face to face contact, or with material contaminated with the virus,” Dr Armstrong said.
“A person with monkeypox can transmit 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.
This includes 30 in New South Wales, 19 in Victoria, 2 in the Australian Capital Territory, 1 in Queensland and 1 in South Australia.
Most of Australia’s recent cases of monkeypox were contracted overseas.
Health experts say spread of the disease – which is less transmissible than Covid – can be effectively controlled through isolation measures.
Transmission of the disease usually requires direct skin-to-skin or prolonged face-to-face contact with an infected person.
Symptoms may initially include fever, chills, muscle aches, backache and swollen lymph nodes.
Following this, sufferers develop a rash which can appear all over the body as small sores.
Most people with Monkeypox do not require treatment and fully recover from the disease within a couple of weeks.
The disease is endemic in 11 African nations, where the death rate is between three and six per cent.
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 ever instances of the disease.