Monkeypox virus on the move in Durham: three confirmed and two probable cases


Published July 25, 2022 at 11:22 am

Monkeypox cases have exploded in recent weeks, especially in Toronto, with three confirmed and two probable cases of the virus in Durham Region as well.

The vast majority of cases (220 of 288 confirmed and four of seven probable) are in Toronto and all but one confirmed case is male, with the average age 36.8 and nearly 42 per cent of confirmed cases men in their thirties.

Confirmed cases have more than doubled in the past two weeks and in fact saw a boost in cases of 58 in three days last week alone.

There are 288 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Ontario. Besides Toronto, Ottawa has 21 confirmed cases, Middlesex-London 10 and Halton Region eight. Durham and Peel have three confirmed cases each, but Durham has two of the seven probable cases as well.

A rash is the most common symptom of Monkeypox (70.8 per cent), with oral/genital lesions (53.1 per cent) and fever (49 per cent) also common. Other symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, chills, fatigue, exhaustion, myalgia, headaches, sweating, sore throat and back pain.

The most commonly reported risk factors include engaging in sexual or intimate contact (e.g., hugging, kissing, cuddling) with new and/or more than one partner. Travel, being immunocompromised, or having close contact with someone from outside of the province were also noted though less commonly reported.

Although cases have mostly been identified among males who report sexual or intimate contact with other males (MSM), anyone can get monkeypox. Various factors that may increase the potential risk for exposure include close, sexual, and/or other intimate contact with someone who has a monkeypox rash, sore, or scabs

Symptoms can present anywhere between five to 21 days after exposure and Infected persons can remain contagious through skin contact for up to four weeks.

Durham’s Health Department provided an educational webinar on Monkeypox last month and the provincial government is now testing anyone who shows up to a healthcare provider or emergency room with an “unexplained acute rash or lesion.”

The smallpox vaccine is most effective if administered within four days of exposure, according to federal guidelines and the City of Toronto is offering the Imvamune smallpox vaccine to people considered to be at high risk of exposure.

The World Health Organization (WHO) now says it is aware of 15,734 confirmed cases of monkeypox in 59 countries around the world, including three deaths. There are 681 confirmed cases in Canada, with most in Ontario and Quebec.

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