Monkeypox in Ontario: province reports first female case, 9 hospitalizations so far

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The rate of spread of monkeypox appears to be slowing in Ontario as the province disclosed its first case in a female patient this week.

Public Health Ontario says there are now 156 cases in Ontario, up from 133 on July 11 and 101 on July 6, with 124 of the total case count in Toronto.

The first female case was confirmed through diagnostic testing some time in the past three days.

No other information about the patient was made available.

There are eight other probable cases in the province which remain under investigation.

Of those 156 cases, Public Health Ontario says 124 are in Toronto.

Ottawa has reported 11 cases, Middlesex-London has reported four, and Halton Region has reported three cases.

The number of cases being confirmed per day appears to have slowed greatly since late June when public health units were finding up to nine cases per day.

PHO

The slowdown coincides with the start of a “ring strategy” of administering smallpox vaccine to people most at risk of infection in the province.

Nine people have required admission to hospital for monkeypox in the province in the past two months, and one person required treatment in an ICU.

While everyone can get and spread monkeypox, the recent outbreak in Europe and North America has seen significant spread among gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men.

All cases confirmed in Ontario were in adults between 20 and 69 years of age.

Monkeypox typically spreads through sustained close contact between people breathing, talking, coughing or sneezing.

It can also spread through skin-to-skin contact with rashes or bodily fluids and can also remain on items such as clothing or bedsheets that have made contact with an infected person.

Symptoms can present anywhere between five to 21 days after exposure.

Federal guidelines indicate the smallpox vaccine is most effective if administered within four days of exposure to a case, but can help if administered up to 14 days after exposure.

The City of Toronto continues to offer the Imvamune smallpox vaccine to people considered to be at high risk of exposure.

There is also a therapeutic known as TPoxx which has shown to be helpful in cases where patients suffered severe complications from infection.

The World Health Organization (WHO) now says it is aware of 6,027 lab-confirmed cases of monkeypox in 59 countries around the world, including three deaths.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) says it is aware of 477 cases across Canada, with most in Ontario and Quebec.



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