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NSW Health has issued a public health alert about monkey pox (MPV). MPV is an uncommon virus that does not have a high transmission rate. While MPV is rare outside Central or West Africa, cases have recently been reported in a number of European countries and the United States. The majority of cases have been detected among men who have have sex with men.

Transmission

  • MPV is not characterised as a sexually transmissible infection (STI), but it can be shared through close contact, respiratory droplets or contact with clothing and materials used by someone who has MPV.

Symptoms

  • MPV symptoms include fever, malaise, headache, and sometimes a sore throat or cough, and swollen lymph glands.
  • MPV belongs to the same virus family as smallpox and is generally not severe. Lesions first begin in the mouth and can spread to the face, arms and legs. Lesions start as a rash that develops into papules, vesicles, then pustules, which crust and fall off.

Treatment

  • While MPV can be treated with antiviral medications, there are no specific recommendations for people living with HIV, unless you are immunocompromised (CD4 count <200 cells/mm).
  • Most cases of MPV resolve within a few weeks without complications.

Am I at risk?

  • People who have recently travelled overseas to Europe, US and Africa should monitor for symptoms.
  • Anyone who has recently attended large dance or sex parties or saunas, especially in Europe, are also recommended to monitor for symptoms.
  • Anyone who has symptoms, especially a rash, can call their GP, their local sexual health clinic, or NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624.

Positive Life NSW will continue to monitor the situation
and provide updates to our community.

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