Canada records 358 cases of monkeypox; Quebec reports most cases
Canada has recorded 358 cases of monkeypox as of Wednesday.
In an update posted on July 6, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) shared that 236 cases of the virus have been reported in Quebec, 101 cases have been reported in Ontario, 13 cases have been reported in B.C., and eight have been reported in Alberta.
“The Public Health Agency of Canada is working with provinces, territories and international partners, including the World Health Organization, to actively monitor the situation,” reads a statement on PHAC’s website. “Global efforts are focused on containment of the outbreak and the prevention of further spread.”
In the update, PHAC notes that monkeypox is continuing to spread in areas of the world where the virus is not endemic, which it says is “a highly unusual event.”
According to the agency, current information on the virus suggests that human-to-human transmission is occurring through close personal contact with those who have a symptomatic case of monkeypox.
Canada is currently at a Level 2 Travel Notice, advising travellers to take precautions while abroad to protect against the spread of monkeypox.
A full list of symptoms and tips on how to protect against the virus are available on the PHAC website.
In some parts of the country, vaccinations to guard against the spread of monkeypox are available to those deemed at-risk by local public health authorities.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has released interim guidance on the use of Imvamune, a smallpox vaccine, to prevent against the spread of monkeypox.
According to PHAC, while there is no specific vaccine to protect against monkeypox, early data suggests the Imvamune vaccine could be 85 per cent effective in reducing the severity of symptoms.
In Alberta, people who have had close contact with those infected with monkeypox are eligible for a vaccine. As of Monday, eight Albertans have received vaccinations.
In Ontario, people who may have been exposed to monkeypox may be eligible for the vaccine, and should contact their local pubic health authority if they believe they may have been exposed. Trans or cisgender individuals who have sex with other men also may be eligible for a vaccine in some Ontario cities, according to the Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance in Ontario. A list of locations and other eligibility requirements are available on the alliance’s website.
With the risk to the general population still low, public heath agencies are prioritizing people most at risk for vaccination. But PHAC warns that the risk of contracting monkeypox is not limited to any one community.
“Monkeypox virus can affect anyone who is in close contact with an infected person or their contaminated objects,” a statement from PHAC reads. “Contrary to some recent media reports, this virus does not discriminate and is not limited to spread from intimate sexual activities.”