New Zealand has just become one of more than 50 countries to record cases of monkeypox in an outbreak that took off two months ago.

But experts stress that we shouldn't worry.

New Zealand's first recorded case of monkeypox – a recently-returned Aucklander aged in their 30s who's now isolating at home – hardly came as a surprise to health experts.

Its arrival was inevitable

Since a cluster of the viral disease was confirmed in the UK back in May, the outbreak has grown to more than 8000 cases and spread to 57 countries as far-flung as Venezuela, Iceland, Latvia and South Korea.

Once we reached that many cases in the world, and Australia was recording 20 of them, we were always going to see it in New Zealand ... I don't think there was any ever question of that," Otago University epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker said.

Monkeypox, which was first observed in humans back in the 1970s, in a 9-year-old boy in Congo, is known to come in two main forms.

Your risk is very low

There's a deadlier type that comes with a fatality rate of about 10 per cent, and another, less severe type that kills only about 1 per cent of those it infects.

While severe cases could occur, it was currently considered a self-limiting disease, with flu-like symptoms such as fever, along with rashes, lasting from two to four weeks.

It's very different to Covid-19

Monkeypox's public risk stood all the more smaller in comparision to Covid -19

As its name implies, monkeypox is a pox virus and part of the same, diverse family of oval-shaped viruses that includes the notorious smallpox.

Since smallpox was globally eradicated just over four decades ago – it remains the only human disease we've managed to wipe out from nature - monkeypox has become the most common cause of pox infections.

Sex may be a factor in spread

Monkeypox had not previously been documented to have spread through sex, but it could be transmitted through close contact with infected people's body fluids and clothing.

Hygiene help

Fortunately, the world does have effective vaccines available for monkeypox: the second and third-generation smallpox vaccines, both of which are "live virus" vaccines using the vaccinia virus.

"Monkeypox and Covid-19 are different diseases and spread through somewhat different pathways,

But at a personal level, personal hygiene measures and protection with masks are super important for both diseases, especially as Covid-19 cases will continue to rise," Canterbury University epidemiologist Associate Professor

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