The Ministry of Health has tonight reported the first known case of monkeypox in New Zealand.
The person, who is now isolating, is in their 30s, lives in Auckland and has recently returned from overseas travel in a country with reported cases of monkeypox.
There are currently 50 countries reporting cases of monkeypox. Given the increase in cases internationally, including Australia, the arrival in New Zealand was not unexpected, the ministry said.
“We have already taken steps to prepare for the arrival of monkeypox. Last month monkeypox was officially listed as a notifiable disease enabling us to utilise the tools needed to contain any possible spread of the disease including isolation orders and readying contact tracing capabilities. A monkeypox PCR test is available in New Zealand labs and is what has been used to detect this first case,” the ministry said in a statement.
A very small number of contacts of the case who are being advised to watch for symptoms. There is no evidence of community transmission here.
Public Health Advice
Cases of monkeypox outside of endemic countries have primarily been identified amongst gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men, and international cases have been clustered around events where this occurs.
As such the Ministry of Health is asking anyone who’s been overseas and attended events connected with the spread of monkeypox to be aware of any symptoms and seek advice from where you normally would get health advice from, either by contacting your GP or Healthline free on 0800 611 116, or by getting in touch with a sexual health clinic.
The first symptoms of monkeypox include one or more of the following: headache, acute onset of fever (>38.0C), chills, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and body aches, backache and tiredness. The characteristic rash, which typically looks similar to chickenpox, appears after a few days.
The majority of people with monkeypox can be safely managed at home and there have been very few deaths from monkeypox globally.
More information about monkeypox and its symptoms can be found on the Ministry of Health website.