Positive monkeypox cases

If your test is positive for MPX, you will be contacted by public health, who will advise about staying at home and leaving the house for essential activities. Public health may also contact you to monitor your symptoms and ensure you are well.

Stay at home and follow public health advice

A person with MPX should stay at home and follow public health advice while they have symptoms and until they are cleared by public health. This includes doing the following:

  • Sleep in a separate room away from people they live with and limit contact with household members.
  • Avoid physical or intimate contact with others including sexual activity.
  • Avoid any interaction with people at higher risk of severe disease, including people with low immunity, pregnant women, older people and young children.
  • Avoid contact with animals, particularly dogs and rodents (mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, squirrels, etc), due to the possibility of human-to-animal transmission. This includes sleeping in a separate room away from pets. It is possible for MPX to be passed from human to animals through household contact such as petting and cuddling.
  • Wear a mask when in the same room as others and cover skin lesions (where possible).
  • Do not share clothing, bedding, towels and unwashed crockery and cutlery. If others must touch these items, they should wear gloves and a surgical mask.
  • Do not share toothbrushes, razors, towels, wash cloths or other personal items with others.
  • Visitors to the home should be discouraged.
  • Work from home.
  • Practise careful hand and respiratory hygiene. Clean hands frequently using alcohol-based hand sanitiser or soap and water. Cover mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing with disposable tissues. Dispose of used tissues into a rubbish bag and clean hands

A person with MPX should not:

  • Attend settings such as early childhood education and care services, aged care, healthcare settings, and schools, especially settings with young children and vulnerable people (people with low immunity, older people and pregnant women), including for routine appointments, unless seeking medical attention.
  • Donate blood, cells, tissue, breast milk, semen, or organs

The public health unit will provide advice as to whether a person with MPX may leave the home to undertake essential activities in non-crowded settings, which may include to buy groceries, medicines, or for solo outdoor exercise. This will depend on the severity of symptoms, location of lesions and potential risk to others. General measures when leaving the home include:

  • Wear a surgical mask
  • Ensure any rash or lesions are covered e.g. non-stick dressings, long sleeves, long pants
  • Avoid close contact with others
  • Avoid public transport if lesions cannot be completely covered.

People with MPX should avoid appointments that can be safely postponed, particularly those in settings such as healthcare, educational or aged care settings, unless seeking medical attention.

Cleaning advice
  • MPX viruses are sensitive to many household disinfectants, including detergent solution (soap and water) for cleaning and bleach solution for disinfection after cleaning. A single product (combined cleaning and disinfection agent) wipe or solution can also be used e.g., cleaning and disinfection wipes available at local supermarkets. Ensure an adequate number of wipes are used for the area and surfaces being cleaned and disinfected. Also, check the manufacturer’s instructions for contact time.
  • Regular cleaning and disinfection of the home environment using household disinfectant should be undertaken including frequently touched surfaces and items such as door handles, light switches, mobile phones, TV remotes and floors.
  • Clean and disinfect in the following order: laundry, hard surfaces and household items, furniture, carpet and flooring, bathroom and toilet, and mop floor (to minimise cross contamination).
  • Use a separate toilet/bathroom. Where there is not a separate bathroom, clean and disinfect the bathroom facilities after you use them before anyone else in your household enters the room.
  • Used dishes and eating utensils should be washed in a dishwasher or by hand with hot water and soap and dried.
  • Place coversheets, or blankets over upholstered furniture and other porous materials that cannot be laundered.
  • Handle your own linen, towels and clothing for laundering:
    • Gather contaminated clothing and bed linen before anything else in the room is cleaned and disinfected. Do not shake the bed linen as this could spread infectious particles.
    • Load the dirty linen and clothing in the washing machine or bag for laundry if no washing machine available. Wash bed linen in a separate load to other household members in a warm or hot water cycle. Where warm or hot water is not available repeat the cycle using appropriate laundry detergent and dose.
    • Dry clothes as per normal.
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces e.g. washing machine including the lid or handle, after you have finished and clean your hands.
  • Dispose of waste at the point of use (e.g. bag waste in room, tie off bagged waste and dispose directly into the bin.
  • Perform hand hygiene after household cleaning using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, or soap and water if an alcohol-based hand sanitiser is unavailable.
How will I know that I no longer have monkeypox?
  • People with monkeypox are considered infectious (i.e. can pass on the infection to others) for as long as they have symptoms. Symptoms usually last for 2-3 weeks.
  • Your symptoms are resolved when all lesions have crusted, scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed underneath.
  • Public health will review your symptoms and advise when you are no longer infectious and can resume your usual activities.
  • It is not known how long the monkeypox virus remains present in semen and other genital excretions. You should use condoms during sexual activity for a further 8 weeks after your symptoms have resolved. This is a precaution to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to sexual partners.
What happens when my self-isolation has finished?
  • You must thoroughly clean and disinfect your home when you leave self-isolation. Special attention must be paid to items and surfaces that were in direct contact with your skin.
  • Monkeypox virus can survive on bed linen, towels, clothing and on environmental surfaces, including fabric surfaces such as sofas, cushions and beds. It is important to clean and disinfect any areas where you have spent time during your infectious period, including vehicles.
  • If you are using disposable wipes to clean and disinfect hard surfaces make sure you use an adequate number of wipes. Always follow the directions on the label of cleaning and disinfection products to ensure safe and effective use.
  • Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for contact time (the amount of time that a disinfectant must stay wet on a surface in order to be effective at killing viruses). When you have finished cleaning the home, you must clean the items you have used, such as buckets or mops. You must launder any reusable cleaning clothes in a separate laundry load.
  • Activities such as dry dusting or sweeping should be avoided to prevent dispersal of infectious particles. Wet or damp cleaning methods such as mopping are preferred. Vacuuming is acceptable if using a vacuum with a high-efficiency air filter. If that is not available, make sure the person vacuuming wears a well-fitting respirator mask.
  • Perform hand hygiene after household cleaning using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser, or soap and water if an alcohol-based hand sanitiser is unavailable.
Last reviewed: 20-09-2022

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

See also