Australia’s top doctor has officially declared Monkeypox a “communicable disease incident of national significance”.
Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly announced the move in a statement on Thursday morning.
“The decision to declare MPX a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance was made under the Emergency Response Plan for Communicable Disease Incidents of National Significance, in consultation with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee,” Professor Kelly said.
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The move follows the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern.
It essentially means the Federal Government can now provide enhanced national coordination to assist states and territories to effectively manage the outbreaks within their jurisdictions.
In Australia, there have been 44 cases, the majority of which have been within returned international travellers.
Monkeypox is a viral infection that causes a rash and is spread by very close contact with someone with monkeypox.
Professor Kelly said the virus’ rash and flu-like symptoms are relatively mild, and in most cases, resolve themselves within two to four weeks without the need for specific treatments.
“It is important to note that although I have declared MPX to be a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance, it is far less harmful than COVID-19 and there have been no deaths reported during the current outbreak outside of countries where the virus is endemic,” Professor Kelly said.
“MPX is also not transmitted in the same way as COVID-19 and is far less transmissible.”
More to come.