There are 25 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Quebec, and another 30 are under investigation, public health officials said Thursday.
There are 14 cases in the Montreal region, said Geneva Bergeron, head of health care for emergencies and infectious diseases in the city’s public health department. An analysis is underway to understand whether the case is related, she said Thursday.
The announcement comes just a week after Quebec sees the first two cases of monkeypox, a virus that is prevalent in parts of West Africa. Dr. Luc Boileau, Quebec’s interim director of public health, found most of Quebec’s cases in men who had sex with other men, but one of the patients recently contacted a friend at school. I’m a child.
“This is a serious outbreak,” Boileau said at a press conference in Montreal on Thursday. “I think it’s a serious situation, but it’s not the same as the COVID situation. It’s not expected that so many cases will occur rapidly. That’s why I think it can be eradicated. Therefore, we need to pay close attention to this issue and insist that infected people actually need to pay attention to their contacts. “
Monkeypox spreads through close, long-term contact with the infected person. Microbiologist and professor Caroline Quach of the University of Montreal said it can also be transmitted via droplets. Symptoms include fever. Blisters on the face, hands, feet, eyes, mouth, or genitals; swollen lymph nodes; headache and myalgia.
The incubation period for monkeypox usually lasts 5 to 7 days, sometimes as long as 21 days, Boileau said. In most cases, the illness disappears spontaneously within 2-4 weeks. Complications can occur “in very rare cases,” Boileau said.
This is the second most known outbreak of the disease in North America in the last 20 years. The first incident in 2003 affected 71 people in several states in the United States. It dates back to rats imported from Ghana and housed near prairie dogs in Illinois. Prairie dogs were sold as pets and later showed signs of infection.
“This is a little worrisome,” said Donald Bin, an infectious disease expert and medical microbiologist at the McGill University Health Center. “Last week, the number of confirmed cases increased from zero to 25. For illnesses we’ve never seen in Canada, it seems to be a relatively large increase. What we’re seeing now is spillover. It’s an effect. We’re not the beginning of the ripples, but somewhere along the way. The question is how many more patients we have. “
Because monkeypox is closely associated with the virus that causes smallpox, smallpox vaccines can help prevent or reduce the severity of people’s illness.
Quebec has received the first dose of the Imvamune smallpox vaccine from the federal government, and vaccination could begin on Friday, Boileau said. No extensive vaccination campaign is planned, but “hundreds” of vaccines were given on Tuesday, Boileau said.
According to the recommendations of the Quebec Immunology Commission, high-risk contacts with confirmed or possible cases of monkeypox may be vaccinated with a single dose of Imvamune within 4 days of exposure. The second dose can only be given after 28 days if the risk of exposure is still present.
Quebec doctors have been asked to report cases of monkeypox since May 19, when the state began epidemiological investigations.
At least 12 countries, including Australia, Belgium, Portugal and the United Kingdom, have reported cases of monkeypox in the last two weeks. As of Saturday, the World Health Organization has counted 92 confirmed test cases in some parts of the world. According to WHO, “mainly, but not exclusive” cases have been identified among men having sex with other men.
In Quebec, several possible links are under investigation, including patient trips to the United States, Belgium and Mexico, Bergeron said.
Health officials briefed reporters on Thursday warned against blaming the gay community.
“Stigmaization is counterproductive,” Bergeron said. “Our enemies are viruses. It’s not the people who are affected.”
“It’s very rare for the disease to occur in multiple countries at the same time,” says Bergeron. “We are very early in the process of understanding those connections, but we look at them and gather information,” she says to understand how the illness got here. I told you.
Authorities provided little detail about the infected child, other than attending a school in Greater Montreal. According to Boileau, the child is isolated.
“We are investigating and mobilizing resources to confirm that there are actions to be taken,” Boileau said. “Currently, things are being done very carefully and rigorously.”
Canadian Press contributed to this report.
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