Australia reports first confirmed case of monkeypox

STORY: The man in his 30s developed a mild illness before returning to Melbourne, Victoria where he was diagnosed with monkeypox and is currently in isolation in hospital.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton explained that the virus is rare outside of West Africa, but has seen a recent surge, and noted, "that may be a combination of changes to the virus, it may be the fact that we are now further and further away from when we all got vaccinated for smallpox."

The probable case is a man in his 40s, who developed a mild illness several days after arriving back in Sydney from Europe with symptoms clinically compatible with monkeypox. He and a household contact are isolating at home. New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard said authorities are expecting a confirmation in "the next day or so."

Symptoms for monkeypox include fever, headaches and skin rashes starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body. People can contract the virus through very close contact with those who are infected.

Cases of monkeypox have been identified in several non-endemic countries in recent weeks, including in Europe and the United States. Monkeypox, which mostly occurs in West and Central Africa, is a rare virus similar to human smallpox, though milder.