Mpox (Monkeypox)

The main points

Sexual Health Victoria is now administering the Mpox vaccine at both our clinics with limited supply available. Please book an appointment online. Please visit the Department of Health website page to see a full list of clinics providing the vaccine.

  • Mpox is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox but is clinically less severe.
  • People with Mpox develop a rash that can be painful and could affect any part of the body, including the genitals, face, mouth and soles of feet.
  • The illness is usually mild and recovery takes a few weeks. In severe cases, effective antiviral treatments are available in Australia so early diagnosis is important.

We are monitoring the Mpox situation in Australia, and the information is regularly updated. Please visit the official government pages and HealthDirect site for the most recent updates.

What is Mpox?

Mpox is closely related to the virus that causes smallpox but is clinically less severe. People with Mpox develop a rash that can be painful and could affect any part of the body, including the genitals, face, mouth and soles of their feet.

Severe illness may develop in a small percentage of people. It does not easily spread between people, as it usually requires very close contact.

What are the symptoms of Mpox?

Mpox symptoms may start with fever, chills, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue before a rash develops, but it may also begin with a rash. The rash may spread all over the body or only be present on the genitals.

People with Mpox develop a rash that can be painful and could affect any part of the body including:

  • genitals
  • area around the anus
  • inside the mouth
  • face
  • palms of the hands
  • soles of the feet.

The rash involves vesicles, pustules, pimples or ulcers and goes through different stages, like chickenpox, before finally becoming a scab that falls off. Symptoms may resemble other sexually transmitted infections such as herpes or syphilis.

How do people get Mpox?

Human-to-human transmission can occur through:

  • close contact with lesions on the skin
  • body fluids, including respiratory droplets
  • contaminated materials such as linen and towels.

Transmission through respiratory droplets is less common and usually only happens if there is prolonged face-to-face contact.

Is Mpox a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?

Mpox can be transmitted with and without having sex through very close contact.

Can only men who have sex with men get Mpox?

No. Anyone who has been in close contact with someone with Mpox is at risk.

Have cases of Mpox been detected in Australia?

Yes – Cases have been detected in Australia, some of which are locally acquired infections.

How long is Mpox contagious?

People with Mpox are generally infectious for up to 21 days until the lesions are healed and symptoms no longer persist.

People with Mpox are contagious from the time that they develop their first symptoms (which is usually fever but occasionally starts with a rash) and until rash lesions crust, dry or fall off.

How do I protect myself from Mpox?

Get vaccinated. The vaccine is free of charge, but there may be costs associated with consultations. Both our city and Box Hill clinics have the vaccine.

Avoid close contact with people who have suspected or confirmed Mpox infection. It is essential that you stay vigilant with hygiene measures including wearing masks and washing hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser.

People travelling overseas to locations where there have been Mpox cases, who are sexually active whilst travelling and/or attending large parties should be aware of the risk of Mpox. Seek advice from local health authorities if you think you might have been exposed.

What should I do if I think I could have Mpox?

If you think that you may have been exposed to or have any symptoms suggestive of Mpox, SHV recommends calling Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic on 9341 6200 for further advice.

Treatment for Mpox

The illness is usually mild and recovery takes a few weeks. In severe cases, effective antiviral treatments are available in Australia so early diagnosis is important.

Contact us

Clinic

Telephone: 03 9257 0100 or freecall 1800 013 952

Fax: 03 9257 0111