Monkeypox virus infection is now notifiable

02 June 2022

Monkeypox continues to spread globally, with 257 confirmed and 117-127 suspected cases in 23 countries (outside of endemic countries in Africa). In Australia, there are two confirmed cases; one in New South Wales and one in Victoria, both of whom had recently returned from overseas travel. There has been no transmission within Australia.

Effective immediately, the Minister for Health and Wellbeing has declared monkeypox virus infection a notifiable and a controlled notifiable condition under the South Australian Public Health Act 2011. This is effective for 6 months unless declared otherwise by the Minister, or changes are made to the South Australian Public Health (Notifiable and Controlled Notifiable Conditions) Regulations 2012.

Diagnostic laboratories are required to

  • Notify all cases of monkeypox virus infection urgently to the Communicable Disease Control Branch (CDCB).
  • Advise the requesting doctor that monkeypox virus infection, including suspected cases, must be notified to CDCB.

Doctors are advised to

  • Be alert for cases with clinical features of monkeypox especially in anyone arriving from international travel.
    • Prodromal symptoms: fever, headache, back pain, myalgia, fatigue, and lymphadenopathy.
    • Rash:
      • usually commences within 1-3 days of the fever
      • starts as a macular rash that develops into papules, vesicles, then pustules, which crust and fall off
      • usually commences in the mouth, spreading to face and extremities
      • lesions may be present on palms and soles (in 75% of cases), genitalia, and eye (conjunctiva and cornea).
  • Be aware of other viral rash illnesses with similar clinical presentation e.g. measles, chickenpox, shingles, herpes simplex, syphilis and collect relevant information on immunisation, recent history of travel and contact history.
  • Ensure transmission-based precautions (contact and airborne) are in place if the patient is being managed in or to be transferred to a healthcare setting.  
  • Advise suspected monkeypox virus infection cases to wear a mask and cover lesions while seeking medical care.
  • Discuss suspected cases with an infectious diseases physician for appropriate management
  • Notify suspected cases to CDCB urgently by phoning 1300 232 272 (24 hrs/7 days).
  • Do not wait for laboratory confirmation. This enables timely contact tracing & public health management of close contacts as soon as possible to prevent secondary cases.
  • Contact SA Pathology on-call microbiologist on 8222 3123 to discuss appropriate testing.

For further information see

Enquiries

For all enquiries, please contact the CDCB on 1300 232 272 (24 hours/7 days)

Dr Louise Flood – Director, Communicable Disease Control Branch