Monkeypox may seem, to a plague-weary world, like yet another problem we don't want to deal with. But it isn't related to Covid-19 and is on a small scale for now.
Britain's National Health Service says it's a rare and usually mild infection that people get over in a few weeks and, crucially, it doesn't spread easily. World Health Organisation official David Heymann said close contact was the main transmission route.
About 3 per cent of people in contact with an infected person tend to get it themselves.
It produces ugly lesions that are infectious to touch. So far, 92 cases of it have been confirmed and more suspected in 13 countries, including two in Australia. It has also appeared in the United States, Canada, Israel, Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.
Normally found in parts of Africa, it has mostly been found in these new outbreaks in young men who hadn't travelled to Africa, and is being identified at sexual health clinics.
The WHO said that the new monkeypox cases "are atypical, as they are occurring in non-endemic countries". Experts say that so far it has mostly appeared in clusters, with likely unnoticed community transmission the main concern.
There are some symptoms in common with Covid-19 such as chills, fever, headache, aches, and exhaustion.
No one in New Zealand would want to get it and Kiwis have got used to Covid variants landing in Australia and then making their way here.
But there's a balance to be found between being alert to concerns about new infections and being overly alarmed.
Because it is similar to smallpox, the vaccine for that disease provides 85 per cent protection against monkeypox. Authorities in Britain and Spain say they have purchased doses of the smallpox vaccine for those at high risk of exposure.
Christian Happi, director of the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases told AP: "We've never seen anything like what's happening in Europe".
Happi also suggested that the end of smallpox vaccination campaigns after the disease was eradicated in 1980 might be helping monkeypox spread. "Not having any smallpox vaccination means nobody has any kind of immunity to monkeypox."
The pandemic experience should at least be emphasising the worth of vaccine protection, not just for Covid but for other diseases the world has medical solutions to.
Child vaccination rates for traditional, routine health threats have worried New Zealand experts such as paediatrician Dr Jin Russell.
In a weekend Twitter thread on a surge in influenza cases and other respiratory illnesses among children in Victoria, Russell urged Kiwi parents and schools to reduce the risk to kids this winter, saying "NZ infection patterns tend to follow those in Australia".
Children can get flu shots and some can get Covid doses, but Russell also stressed the need to vaccinate for measles and whooping cough protection. Medical experts were concerned about outbreaks with vaccination rates down over the past two years.
Success against the flu in the past two winters has meant lower immunity against it and some children who haven't been exposed to infection.
The exotic-sounding monkeypox may sound scarier, but more common threats are the greater risk.