WA Health has identified almost 10 close contacts linked to WA’s first monkeypox case — with those deemed high-risk in isolation and yet to develop symptoms.
The confirmed case is in a man who recently traveled overseas and returned home to Perth’s east.
Communicable Disease Control Directorate’s director Paul Armstrong said the man had contacted a medical clinic after experiencing symptoms and has been in isolation and remains well since.
“There’s only a small number of contacts and the contact tracing has largely been completed now,” he said.
“There are less than 10 people who are categorized as high, medium or low-risk contacts. The high-risk contacts will be isolating at home and they will be contacted daily.
“They don’t have to stay at home all the time. But they’re encouraged to work from home if they possibly can, and if they do go outside to keep social distance and to wear masks.”
WA Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson said the State Government had placed orders for vaccines at the same time as the Federal Government and they would likely be available for roll-out in late August.
The first batch will deliver 1300 doses to WA before more arrivals will come in late September.
Dr Armstrong said WA Health was currently collating a priority list for the first people who would be provided access to the initial vaccines.
He flagged people with specific sexual tendencies, the immunocompromised or those with severe disease concerns, and sexual health medical professionals, likely among the first to receive the doses.
He said the vaccine is highly sought after worldwide and had been difficult to obtain but would be an important part of tackling the virus.
“It’s a good vaccine. It’s got a much lower side effect profile than previous vaccines. So, it’s a very important part of our response to monkeypox. It’s not the only part, of course, it’s just a plank of our response,” Dr Armstrong said.
While authorities say the risk to the community from this case is low, returned travelers are being urged to monitor for symptoms of the virus.
The WA Health Minister and Dr Armstrong said the place or region the man traveled from would not be disclosed due to patient confidentiality.
A monkeypox case can transmit the infection to other people through skin lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.
A rash typically develops that appears as bumps, pimples or sores, and develops into fluid-filled lesions, pustules or ulcers. The rash can be widespread or localized to one area.
Dr Armstrong said people should look out for flu-like symptoms such as fever or headache before a rash sets in.