Saturday, April 1, 2023

Country becomes first to introduce monkeypox quarantine. So, should Australia follow suit?

Belgium has become the first country in the world to introduce mandatory three-week quarantine for monkeypox patients.

Three cases have been detected in Belgium, all believed to be linked to a gay pride festival.

“There’s reason to assume that the virus has been brought in by visitors from abroad to the festival after recent cases in other countries,” Darklands organizers said.

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“The risk assessment group of the federal government has asked Darklands to inform its guests about these infections.”

About 100 cases of monkeypox have now been detected globally in countries where it isn’t considered endemic.

A Monkeypox Lesson On A Patient'S Hand.
A monkeypox lesson on a patient’s hand. Credit: Getty Images,Getty Images

In Australia, two people have been reported as having monkeypox, both middle-aged men who recently arrived from overseas.

The virus is believed to be transmitted from person-to-person.

“Available information suggests that human-to-human transmission is occurring among people in close physical contact with cases who are symptomatic,” the World Health Organization said in a statement.

Professor Catherine Bennett, Chair of Epidemiology at Deakin University, says the incubation period can range from 6 days all the way until three weeks.

Health Officers Use A Thermal Head To Detect Monkeypox Virus On Arriving Passengers Near Jakarta.
Health officers use a thermal head to detect monkeypox virus on arriving passengers near Jakarta. Credit: Getty Images

But she says an isolation period would be designed to wait out the period when a patient is infectious.

“Yes, the incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days,” she told

“However, the isolation you mention is not about incubation as this is for people who have already developed symptomatic disease.

“This is about isolating them till no longer infectious. Usually, this is when their sores have healed and they no longer have any active lesions, and depends on treatment.”

The WHO recommends patients be isolated during the “presumed and known infectious periods”.

This 1997 Image Provided By Cdc, Shows The Right Arm And Torso Of A Monkeypox Patient.
This 1997 image provided by CDC, shows the right arm and torso of a monkeypox patient. Credit: Associated Press

“Any patient with suspected monkeypox should be isolated during the presumed and known infectious periods, that is during the prodromal and rash stages of the illness, respectively,” it says.

But close contacts, it says, shouldn’t be isolating.

“Asymptomatic contacts can continue routine daily activities such as going to work and attending school (ie, no quarantine is necessary), but should remain close to home for the duration of surveillance.

“It may, however, be prudent to exclude pre-school children from daycare, nursery, or other group settings.”


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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