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Monkeypox and Australian travellers

July 26th, 2022

Monkeypox is a risk to only a very small cohort of travellers.

Monkeypox spreads in different ways. The virus can spread from person-to-person through:

  • direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids
  • respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex
  • touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids
  • pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetus through the placenta.

Monkeypox has now been declared by WHO –  a public health emergency of international concern.

The Guardian in Australia has a good article here relevant to the Australian situation.

The CDC in USA has a very good site with information on Monkey pox 

About Vaccination

There are 2 types of smallpox vaccine and they likely provide some protection against monkeypox, but vaccination is not readily available currently in Australia. Smallpox vaccination is not needed for the VAST majority of travellers.  Travellers who have had smallpox vaccine decades before ask – will this help me? CDC says this

Previous smallpox vaccination does provide protection, but it may not necessarily be lifelong. During the 2003 monkeypox outbreak and during the current outbreak, several people who were infected with monkeypox had previously been vaccinated against smallpox decades prior.” Further information on vaccines from CDC here 

In the USA Vaccination can be given after exposure – so persons going to the USA may be able to access the vaccine there –  there for festivals etc.


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