Health authorities warn against increasing local transmission of monkeypox in Australian states

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Sydney, Aug 21 (IANS) Health authorities of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) on Sunday warned local residents to be vigilant for the symptoms of monkeypox following local transmission of the virus in the state.

There have been 42 cases of monkeypox detected in NSW, among which one case is confirmed to be infected within the state while two others were infected within the country, Xinhua news agency reported.

NSW Health Executive Director of Health Protection Dr Richard Broome said the recently diagnosed case highlights the importance of people remaining vigilant for symptoms regardless of whether they have visited high-risk environments overseas.

According to the health department, symptoms of monkeypox usually begin seven to 14 days after exposure through skin-to-skin contact and can include fever, headache, body aches and a rash or lesions on the genital area.

People with these symptoms should avoid close contact with others, including sexual activity, as condoms are not effective at preventing the transmission of the virus.

At the same time, the neighbouring state of Victoria is seeing an increasing local transmission, with the state’s total monkeypox cases rising to 40, including about 15 to 18 active cases.

Victorian Deputy Chief Health Officer for Communicable Disease Deborah Friedman said there has been a “significant increase” in locally acquired cases in the past two weeks. About half of the 40 cases were acquired within the state instead of overseas.

“We are really the only state in Australia that’s seeing such an increase of local transmission,” Friedman said.

As of August 18, Australia Department of Health and Aged Care has recorded 89 monkeypox cases, mainly within the densely populated NSW and Victoria.

Australia has secured 450,000 monkeypox vaccines and started rolling out in states and territories, but due to the limited supply, the vaccines are mainly provided to new cases and close contacts.

–IANS

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