The Australian Government is urging healthcare professionals to be alert to monkeypox, especially since an Australian GP identified a case during a routine patient consultation, with other examples like this taking place since. Given monkeypox can present with foot lesions in up to 75% of cases, here is what podiatrists should know.
With confirmed cases of monkeypox identified in Australia, a Government-led push is now on for healthcare workers, such as podiatrists, to be aware of the symptoms.
“States and territories are alerting clinicians to be on the lookout for potential cases and to report any cases to their relevant state and territory authorities urgently so that a public health response can be activated. Post-exposure prophylaxis can be effective in preventing or modifying disease contacts if provided soon after exposure. The Australian Government will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates.
“Monkeypox virus is not currently a nationally notifiable disease in Australia, however international incidents such as these are monitored by the CDNA and AHPPC, which includes communicable disease experts and Chief Health Officers and other representatives from jurisdictional health departments.”
According to the Federal Government, the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) will continue to meet to monitor the situation.
Relevant advice for podiatrists, according to the Victorian Department of Health for example, is as follows.
“Clinicians should be aware of compatible clinical presentation in travellers returning from an endemic area or affected countries. Information on recent travel history, contacts and immunisation should be elicited. Any patient with suspected monkeypox should seek medical care wearing a mask and be isolated from others. Healthcare workers caring for suspected or confirmed monkeypox patients should implement both standard contact and airborne precautions.”
Symptoms can include foot lesions and podiatrists should be alert to the following presentations as indicators of a potential monkeypox case. Other signs of infection include fever, a distinctive vesicular rash that can occur on any part of the body including the face, legs and swollen lymph nodes.
If you suspect monkeypox while treating a patient then urge your patient to seek medical advice immediately and contact your state-based health department for further advice if necessary.