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Mpox (Monkeypox)

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Fact sheet - Health conditions directory

Mpox is a rare viral illness caused by the mpox virus. The mpox virus belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus in the Poxviridae family, which also includes variola virus (the virus which causes smallpox). Monkeypox is a zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in rural rainforest villages of Central and Western Africa however outbreaks and sporadic cases have occurred elsewhere.

Mpox can affect people of all ages and is spread from person to person through close contact with skin lesions, body fluids, including respiratory droplets or direct contact with contaminated objects, such as bedding or clothes. Mpox usually presents as a mild illness associated with influenza like symptoms, such as fever, headache or myalgia and lymphadenopathy or swelling of the lymph nodes. Within 1–3 days after fever, a rash develops often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. There are no specific treatments for monkeypox infection. It is usually a mild self-limiting illness and most people recover within 2–4 weeks. Rarely severe cases can occur.

Doctors, hospitals and laboratories must notify any suspected cases to Public Health Units.

Enhanced surveillance for public health units

  • Case report form - used by public health units to collect and manage more detailed information for enhanced case surveillance.

Public health management guidelines

Resources for health professionals

Australian Department of Health Monkeypox - information about mpox symptoms, treatment, prevention and vaccine guidance

Last updated: 5 June 2023

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