Seven confirmed mpox cases in Auckland

There have been seven confirmed cases of mpox in Auckland since late December, including one case who has since returned home overseas.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service specialist Dr Felicity Williamson said mpox was a viral infection spread through skin-to-skin contact.

She said the risk of catching it was low, but those with a skin rash, bumps, blisters or sores should seek health advice.

Williamson said contact tracing had identified links between most of the cases, confirming the virus has spread.

The current global outbreak began in May 2022, when the virus - then known as 'monkeypox' - turned up in London. The World Health Organization later that year renamed it 'mpox', saying its former name prompted "racist and stigmatising language".

The WHO declared the global public health emergency over in May 2023.

The first human case was detected in 1970 in Democratic Republic of the Congo.