Monkeypox declared disease of significance



The country’s chief medical officer has upgraded the federal response to monkey pox in the wake of the World Health Organization labeling the disease a global emergency.

Monkeypox has now been declared a communicable disease incident of national concern.

The statement means the response to monkeypox will have national coordination to help states and areas with outbreaks.

The statement also means that monkeypox needs national policies, interventions, public messages or resources to help the affected areas.

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There have been 44 cases of monkey pox in Australia so far, mostly from returning international travelers.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said work was already underway to ensure a rapid response to the disease.

“While I have stated that monkeypox is a communicable disease of national concern, it is much less harmful than COVID-19,” he said in a statement.

“No deaths have been reported during the current outbreak outside countries where the virus is endemic.

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“Monkeypox is also not transmitted in the same way as COVID-19 and is much less transmissible.”

The National Incident Center has been activated to help coordinate the fight against monkeypox.

Professor Kelly said most cases of monkey pox were among people between the ages of 21 and 40, and among gay and bisexual men.

“While monkeypox is not usually considered a sexually transmitted infection, physical contact with an infected person during sexual intercourse carries a significant risk of transmission,” he said.

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“Intimate physical contact such as hugging, kissing and sexual activities pose a risk of infection, with infectious skin sores being the likely mode of transmission.”

A monkeypox rash usually starts on the face before spreading to other parts of the body, including the palms and hands and soles of the feet.

Other symptoms include fever, chills, body aches, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue.