Experts say New Zealand can expect more cases in the coming weeks.

New Zealand should prepare for more monkeypox cases over the coming weeks as the first person in Auckland tests positive for the viral disease.

The man, who is in his early 30s, became the country’s first confirmed case on Saturday night. He is isolating at home in Auckland after returning from overseas, where he was in a country with multiple reported cases of monkeypox. His close contacts have been advised to monitor for symptoms.


Monkeypox belongs to the same virus family as smallpox, but it has milder symptoms which include chills, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and body aches, backache and a characteristic rash.

Cases have primarily been identified among gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men.

Most cases do not require hospitalisation and recover within about two to four weeks.

Otago University infectious diseases physician Professor Kurt Krause told the NZ Herald that while New Zealand will see further cases as international travel increases, there is no need for panic.

“We will likely get more cases but numbers will be nothing like Covid-19. People will need to be on the lookout if they may have been exposed. And affected people will need to isolate, but almost everyone affected will recover very well.”

The Ministry of Health and Pharmac are exploring options for access to smallpox vaccines. Anti-viral drugs are also being developed worldwide to help treat symptoms.