According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cases have tripled in two weeks in Europe.
On Thursday, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) identified 278 cases, including 67 in Ontario and 202 in Quebec, the most affected province.
It is a transmissible infection. It’s not COVID-19; it’s not as transmissible as COVID-19 says Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital.
Dr. Sharon Walmsley of the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute agrees: cases are not growing exponentially like COVID, but the virus is spreading likewise quickly.
” We are concerned and we want to make sure that we adopt control measures to try to prevent this from developing into a massive epidemic or a pandemic. »
Have a game plan
According to the two researchers, a public health strategy and measures are necessary to avoid a rapid deterioration of the situation.
These must include rapid diagnostics and contact tracing, so that those affected are placed in isolation as soon as possible, so as to limit transmission. Canada needs more antivirals and vaccine doses, says Dr. Walmsley.
Dr. Bogoch talks about the importance of vaccinating people who are most at risk, but also those who will have been exposed, to protect them from the virus or at least reduce their symptoms.
However, the tools available to physicians may have limits. The vaccine given was developed for smallpox, a different disease.
Monkeypox is endemic in countries in Africa, but there were no previous outbreaks in areas where it is not endemic.
It was a neglected virus notes Sharon Walmsley.
There has been no research conducted and as a result we have no antivirals and vaccines that we can say with certainty will be effective. She believes that research efforts must be redoubled.
Communicate and support
Currently, men who have sex with men account for the vast majority of cases in Canada. Isaac Bogoch believes in respectful communication and involving this community in public health efforts.
” This is how you build trust and develop a smart strategy to fight an outbreak. »
Dr. Walmsley warns that we must remain vigilant, that monkeypox could very well be found in other groups, such as women and children:
If that happens, and the infection spreads to the general population, then it will be even more difficult to contain it.
Affected individuals should self-isolate for at least two weeks, until the skin lesions have healed.
If you really want people to come in for testing, to make sure they get the care they need, and to be able to do contact tracing and notify those who have been exposed, you’re going to have to support them while they’re on the move. isolate believes Dr. Bogoch.