Should you be worried about monkey-pox?

Worrying signs of monkey-pox – lesions all over the skin 

First Covid; now Monkey-pox. First a case was identified in Melbourne; now there’s another in Sydney. Is it another contagious disease that’s going to cause death and shut-down the country?

Fortunately, no.

Although Monkey-pox is a cousin of Smallpox (one of humanity’s biggest killer diseases), it has milder symptoms and a vastly lower death rate. Before it was eradicated in 1977, Smallpox was responsible for the death of around 30 percent of those it infected while Monkey-pox appears to posess a mortality rate of something closer to one percent of those infected.

The real key to understanding the threat is, however, how quickly it is likely to spread and here there’s some good news. The NSW Chief Health Officer, Kerry Chant, says there’s no reason to panic because it doesn’t spread quickly or easily between people. It’s more like a sexually transmitted disease, requiring close and intimate contact between people infected with the virus. It’s marked by blisters and a bumpy rash, often with a fever, and should be treated immediately somebody has come into contact with anyone who carries the disease. Although there is currently no known cure the danger of catching it is, however, comparatively minor. So don’t panic, but do take care. There is, however, something else that people are being urged to do.


In Queensland free regular flu jabs are being offered as ‘normal’ influenza has spread across the state with ten people in intensive care and more than 150 others hospitalised.

Medical authorities there and across the rest of the country are urging people to ensure they have taken the basic steps to protect themselves by booking in for their normal yearly flu vaccination. Because we have now had effectively two years in lock-down, there has been a slowing down of virus transmission with the result that many people may have less immunity than normally, leading to the calls by medical professionals to ensure everyone is up-to-date and taken normal precautionary measures.

That’s in addition, of course, to making sure that your Covid boosters are up-to-date!

Fortunately electronic medical records are making it easier to keep track of everyone’s current status.




Nic Stuart

Nicholas Stuart is an author (Kevin Rudd, an unauthorised political biography; What Goes Up, behind the 2007 election; Kevin Rudd, 2007 - 2011) and columnist with the Canberra Times. He was the ABC's Indochina Correspondent when he suffered a significant head injury in a car crash in Bangkok.

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