Department of Health

Health alert

Status:
Active
Alert number:
221107
Date issued:
06 Nov 2022 - update to Alert issued 18 October 2022
Issued by:
Associate Professor Deborah Friedman, Deputy Chief Health Officer (Communicable Disease)
Issued to:
Health professionals and the Victorian community

Key messages

  • An increased supply of MPX vaccines is now available in Victoria.
  • Vaccination eligibility criteria have been expanded to allow more people to be vaccinated against MPX.
  • The second dose of MPX vaccine is also now available for those who have received their first dose more than 28 days ago.
  • MPX vaccine is available free-of-charge for eligible people through Local Public Health Unitsand certain sexual health clinics and health services.
  • MPX continues to spread in many countries. In Victoria, the risk of local transmission linked to international travel remains.
  • People with symptoms of MPX should seek medical care and testing and restrict contact with others until advised.
  • Clinicians should test for MPX in all patients presenting with compatible symptoms.

What is the issue?

There is currently a multi-country outbreak of MPX. While the outbreak in Victoria has stabilised, MPX continues to spread in some overseas regions, such as Europe, North America and South America.

MPX is a viral infection that is mainly spread by close or intimate skin-to-skin contact with someone who has MPX. MPX is usually a mild illness and most people recover within a few weeks. However, some people may develop severe illness and require hospitalisation.

Symptoms of MPX can include rash, fever, chills, exhaustion, sore throat, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes. The rash may involve vesicles, pustules, pimples or ulcers, which can vary in number and location and affect any part of the body. Some people have proctitis (anal or rectal pain) or urethritis (pain on urination).

People with symptoms should seek medical care and testing, they should also restrict contact with others until advised of the result of their test.

Who is at risk?

While the current outbreak has disproportionately impacted men who have sex with men, anyone who has been in prolonged physical or intimate contact with someone with MPX is at risk.

Vaccination program updates

Eligibility criteria

In Victoria, the MPX vaccine (JYNNEOS® ) is available free-of-charge for eligible people who meet any of the following criteria:

Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for high-risk close contacts of monkeypox cases, preferably within 4 days.

Pre exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) :

  • Gay, bisexual, and other men, non-binary people assigned male at birth, or trans people who have sex with men (including cis and trans men) at increased risk of monkeypox infection.
    Proxy markers for increased risk of monkeypox infection may include:
    • Those living with HIV.
    • A recent history of multiple sexual partners, participating in group sex, or attending sex on premises venues.
    • Other proxy markers, such as recent sexually transmitted infection or those being advised to take HIV PrEP due to number of sexual partners.
    • Recommendation from other service providers, such as sexual health clinics.
  • Sex workers, particularly those whose clients are in high-risk categories listed above.
  • Anyone in the above high-risk categories who is planning travel to a country experiencing a significant outbreak, with vaccination recommended 4-6 weeks prior to departure.
  • Anyone at greater risk of a poor clinical outcome from monkeypox infection, such as individuals with immunocompromise.
  • Immunisation providers who are administering the ACAM2000™ smallpox vaccine.
  • Laboratory workers who analyse specimens from monkeypox cases.
  • Sexually active gay, bisexual, and other men, non-binary people assigned male at birth, or trans people who have sex with men (including cis and trans men) who are homeless or have significant drug use or psychiatric illness.

The second dose of MPX vaccine is now also available for eligible people who have received their first dose.

Two doses are required for optimal protection and can be given 28 days apart. The MPX vaccine takes approximately 14 days before it is effective.

Access to vaccination

MPX vaccine is now available at more sites across Victoria, including Local Public Health Units (LPHUs), and certain sexual health clinics and health services. For more information on vaccination, including how and where to access the MPX vaccine see MPX disease information and adviceExternal Link .

Reviewed 07 November 2022

Health.vic

Contact details

Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Department of Health

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