First case of monkeypox reported in New Zealand

The Ministry of Health (MoH) is reporting the first case of monkeypox in New Zealand.

The person is in their 30s, lives in Auckland and has recently returned from overseas travel in a country with reported cases of monkeypox.

There are a very small number of contacts of the case who are being advised to watch for symptoms. There is no evidence of community transmission here.

The MoH said given the increase in cases internationally, including Australia, the arrival in New Zealand was not unexpected.

"We have already taken steps to prepare for the arrival of monkeypox," a spokesperson said on Saturday night.

"Last month monkeypox was officially listed as a notifiable disease enabling us to utilise the tools needed to contain any possible spread of the disease including isolation orders and readying contact tracing capabilities. A monkeypox PCR test is available in New Zealand labs and is what has been used to detect this first case."

Public Health Advice

The first symptoms of monkeypox include:

  • headache
  • acute onset of fever (>38.0C)
  • chills
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • muscle and body aches
  • backache
  • tiredness

The characteristic rash, which typically looks similar to chicken pox, appears after a few days.

Cases of monkeypox outside countries where monkeypox is widely spread have mostly been identified amongst men who have sex with men, and international cases have been clustered around events where this occurs.

Anyone who's been overseas and attended events connected with the spread of monkeypox is asked to be aware of any symptoms and seek advice, either by contacting your GP or Healthline free on 0800 611 116, or get in touch with a sexual health clinic.

Health professionals are being reminded to remain vigilant for any possible cases of monkeypox, particularly in people who have recently arrived from countries reporting cases.

The MoH says the majority of people with monkeypox can be safely managed at home and there have been very few deaths from monkeypox globally.