Home WORLD AMERICA Simian pox in the country: “We must act quickly”, urges Dr. Theresa...

Simian pox in the country: “We must act quickly”, urges Dr. Theresa Tam


The monkeypox situation is constantly evolving and there is still a lot we don’t know at this point., said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, during the press briefing she delivers every Friday, along with Dr. Howard Njoo, the deputy chief administrator. Hence the importance of collecting as much information as possible on the ground.

The most important thing is to obtain the epidemiology from the local health authorities to verify the most determining epidemiological parametersinsisted Dr. Tam.

According to Canadian health authorities, the situation in Quebec is worrying, even if it is disproportionate to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, monkeypox is not at all as contagious as this disease.

As of June 1, in Montreal, there were 26 confirmed cases and 23 probable cases of monkeypox reported.

Current watch in the metropolis

On Friday, the Montreal Regional Public Health Department (DRSP) announced in a press release that it was maintaining its watch over the outbreak of infections with the simian orthopoxvirus (simian pox).

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The first reported case of monkeypox in Quebec experienced symptoms on April 29. The DRSP is aware of three hospitalizations to date: two related to the risk of airway obstruction, and one related to possible ophthalmic damage.

To Montreal, the outbreak continues to disproportionately affect men who have sex with other men, the metropolitan DRSP said in its press release. A few cases with no epidemiological link to this community are under investigation.

But the call for vigilance is valid for the whole country, Drs Tam and Njoo insisted on Friday, because the risk of exposure to monkeypox is not limited to any particular group or setting.

Anyone, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, could become infected and spread the virus through close contact with another person, including intimate sexual contact or contact with contaminated objects.

A thousand doses of vaccines against this virus have been sent to Quebec. From now on, vaccines are not only offered to people belonging to risk groups: We are starting to offer the vaccine to certain people who have visited specific placessaid Dr. Njoo.

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Public health authorities in Quebec are carrying out tight contact tracing. On Friday, the DRSP of Montreal updated its recommendations for health professionals who are likely to assess people infected with the simian orthopoxvirus.

The cases reported in Montreal most often present lesions:

  • genitalia (50%);
  • in the anal region (40%);
  • chest (34%), face (30%);
  • by mouth (28%);
  • at the extremities (28%), including the palmar (24%) and plantar (10%) regions.

Little is known about the behavior of the monkeypox virus in countries where it is not endemic (where it is not constantly rife). This is the case in Canada where, therefore, experts cannot currently carry out meaningful modeling exercises on the foreseeable spread of monkeypox in Canada.

But they are collecting information and are ready to do more to understand the evolution of this neglected tropical diseasedescribed Dr. Tam.

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