Information on Mpox

What is mpox?

Mpox (formerly monkeypox) is a disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. Since 2022, mpox has been spreading within local communities in regions where it is not usually seen. The current outbreak in Australia is particularly impacting gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

 

Key points on mpox:

  • Mpox can be spread from person-to-person through skin-to-skin contact with infected lesions or bodily fluids, contaminated objects and through coughing/kissing when an individual has respiratory symptoms. Although it is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), mpox is often spread through physical contact during sexual activity.
  • Mpox symptoms can include painful ulcers on the genitals and in/around the mouth and/or anus as well as anal pain/anal bleeding.
  • Vaccination can protect against infection and severe disease. The free mpox vaccine is available for people most at risk through sexual health clinics including SHINE SA, Adelaide Sexual Health Centre and some general practitioners.
  • People who are at risk of mpox are encouraged to get their first and second dose of vaccine. If you had your first dose years ago, it’s not too late to return for your second dose.
  • Anyone at risk of mpox that has sexual partners who have been to a state, territory or country with an mpox outbreak should consider vaccination.
  • Anyone at risk who is planning to travel to a destination with an mpox outbreak should be vaccinated before departure.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of mpox include sores (rash/lesions/ulcers), anal pain/anal bleeding, swollen lymph nodes, fever, chills, headache, sore throat, muscle aches, joint pain, and exhaustion.

 

How can I prevent mpox?

If you’re at risk of mpox, the vaccine is available.

Mpox vaccines are mainly used to prevent mpox before exposure, but they can also be used after you have been exposed to prevent more severe symptoms.

More information on the JYNNEOS vaccine and prevention is available via the SAMESH website.

 

I’ve had my first vaccine dose but not my second dose, what do I do?

We recommend that you get your second dose of the vaccine. It doesn’t matter if your first dose was years ago.

 

What should I do if I have symptoms?

  • Call a sexual health clinic including SHINE SA and Adelaide Sexual Health Centre and seek medical care. You can contact SHINE SA’s Sexual Healthline for free on 1300 883 793.
  • Restrict your contact with others, stay home, and avoid sexual and skin-to-skin contact with others.
  • Don’t attend events or venues if you feel unwell or have rashes or sores.
  • Cover up any lesions, rashes or sores.

 

How is mpox treated?

Mpox is usually mild and will go away on its own, however it can be quite painful. A health professional can support your treatment.

 

Who is eligible for vaccination?

  • People who have been exposed to mpox (are a close contact).

Vaccination is also available for:

  • all sexually active gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men (including cis and trans men),
  • sexual partners of the people above,
  • people living with HIV,
  • sex workers,
  • healthcare workers who are at increased risk of exposure to mpox.

Why are cases of mpox being detected among gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men?
Learn more via the SAMESH website.

It is important that when we talk about mpox we avoid stigma. Like any infection, there is no shame in contracting mpox, and preventing its transmission is important. Stigmatising mpox is dangerous as it can prevent us from stopping the spread of mpox.

 

Is the vaccine free and do I need a Medicare card?

The vaccine for mpox is free, although depending on the clinic you may be charged for an appointment. While some vaccination sites may ask you to bring a Medicare card along to your appointment, mpox vaccines are available at no charge to everyone including those without a Medicare card.

Mpox vaccinations are free for everyone at SHINE SA.

 

I’m a health professional, what should I know about mpox?

The Australian STI Guidelines provide more information on mpox, visit: Australian STI Guidelines on Mpox

ASHM Mpox Decision Making Tool: Decision Making In Mpox by ASHM Health

Vaccine advice: Immunisation Handbook

 

 

This page was updated 18 June 2024.

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