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First case of mpox in Victoria for 2024 prompts warning

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Grace Frost
Grace Frost
Hi, I'm Grace Frost. I was honoured to report for the Review as their Digital Journalist from mid-2022 to the beginning of 2024. Ive since made a move to the Herald Sun.

Victoria has recorded its first locally-acquired case of mpox in almost six months, prompting a reminder for groups at highest risks to be aware of the symptoms and ensure they are fully vaccinated.

The latest case has not been linked to international travel, suggesting local transmission may be occurring.

Acting chief health officer Christian McGrath said it was a particularly important time to be vigilant for symptoms, with increased travel at this time of year and several pride events in Victoria.

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“If you develop symptoms, our advice is to stay home, restrict your contact with others and book in an appointment with your GP or nearest sexual health service,” he said.

Since May 2022, there has been a large international outbreak of mpox that has predominantly impacted men who have sex with men.

Mpox continues to spread in many countries and there remains an ongoing risk of outbreaks from returned travellers.

Victoria recorded 70 cases of mpox in 2022. With increased awareness and the Victorian mpox vaccination program, that number fell to eight in 2023.

Dr McGrath urged anyone eligible who is not double-vaccinated to make an appointment with a vaccine provider.

“For optimal protection you need two doses of the mpox vaccine administered at least 28 days apart,” he said.

The mpox vaccine is available through more than 250 providers across Victoria, including at select community pharmacies, university student health services, sexual health clinics and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

The mpox vaccine is available free-of-charge for all sexually active gay and bisexual men, cis and trans; sexual partners of gay and bisexual men, cis and trans; and to sex workers.

Mpox is caused by infection with the mpox virus. Common symptoms include a rash, lesions or sores, fever, chills, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and sore throat.

The disease is mostly spread from person-to-person through prolonged physical or intimate contact with someone who has mpox.

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