12 Jul 2022

Second case of monkeypox confirmed in NZ, Ministry of Health says

12:15 pm on 12 July 2022

The Ministry of Health has been notified of a second confirmed case of monkeypox in New Zealand.

Monkeypox virus particles, illustration. Monkeypox is a zoonotic virus from the Poxviridae family that causes monkeypox, a pox-like disease. At the centre of the monkeypox virus is a core nucleoprotein that contains the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) genome. This is surrounded by an outer envelope that is covered with surface tubules. This virus, which is found near rainforests in Central and West Africa causes disease in humans and monkeys, although its natural hosts are rodents. It is capable of human to human transmission. In humans it causes fever, swollen glands and a rash of fluid-filled blisters.

Photo: AFP / Science Photo Library

The ministry said the person, who had a record of recent overseas travel, was isolating in the Northern region.

There was no evidence of community transmission from this case, it said.

The ministry also said the case was not linked to the first case of monkeypox reported on Saturday, and there is no evidence of any community transmission.

The first case of monkeypox reported in the country was a person in their 30s who lives in Auckland.

The person has recently returned from overseas travel in a country with reported cases of monkeypox.

"Public health advice has assessed the risk of transmission from this case as low," the ministry said on today's case.

Monkeypox symptoms

The ministry said the first symptoms of monkeypox included 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 chicken pox, appeared after a few days, it said.

"The majority of people with monkeypox can be safely managed at home. They are asked to isolate until the scabs from lesions have fallen off. At this point we are asking close contacts to monitor for symptoms for three weeks and isolate if symptoms develop."

The ministry said monkeypox did not easily spread between people so the risk to the general public was low.

"Person to person spread may occur through intimate contact with an infected person (including kissing), direct contact with a person's infected lesions, contact with contaminated bed linen or clothes, and respiratory droplets from an individual with monkeypox."

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