What’s the deal with monkeypox?

You may be hearing about monkeypox in the media and we understand that some people might be worried – especially after dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for the last few years. So here are the facts as we currently know them:

  • Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, bodily fluids, respiratory droplets and materials that have been in contact with the symptomatic person such as bedding.
  • There are two strains of monkeypox, and the one that is associated with the current outbreak is less transmissible (does not spread easily) and has milder symptoms.
  • The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.
  • Symptoms can include: fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body.
  • Most cases of monkeypox, particularly the current strain, are a mild self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks
  • To date, there have only been two cases of monkeypox in Australia – neither of these have been in Queensland.
  • There have been numerous confirmed cases of monkeypox in Europe and the United States.
  • Monkeypox has not previously been described as a STI, though it can spread in sexual networks through direct contact during sex and through the above-mentioned transmission routes.

Although a significant portion of the recently reported monkeypox cases have been identified among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, it is important to note that monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection disease, this disease can affect anyone.

In saying this, QPP urge gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men to look out for symptoms, especially those who have recently travelled overseas in Europe and the US.

We particularly urge those who attended dance parties, sex parties or saunas in Europe to be vigilant for symptoms. Anyone with symptoms, particularly a rash, should call their GP or local sexual health clinic to organise a phone or telehealth consultation. You can also call 13 Health (13 43 25 84) for further information.

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