First confirmed case of monkeypox in British Columbia

Monkeypox in BC

B.C. has recorded its first confirmed case of monkeypox.

The case was confirmed through lab testing at the BC Centre for Disease Control and is awaiting confirmation at the National Microbiology Laboratory.

The infected individual resides in Vancouver, and Vancouver Coastal Health is conducting public health follow-up.

The BC CDC says more than 700 cases of monkeypox have been found in non-endemic countries since May, with the majority identified in Europe.

Infections tracing back to West Africa have also been diagnosed in Canada and the United States.

"This clade tends to cause mild disease. While most, but not all, recent global infections are among young men who identify as men who have sex with other men, the virus can affect anyone through close person-to-person contact," the CDC said in a press release.

Monkeypox is spread from person to person through contact with sores and items like bedding or towels that have monkeypox virus on them. It can also spread through respiratory droplets such as coughs and sneezes during prolonged close, face-to-face contact with a person who has monkeypox.

While the virus is not known to transmit through semen, vaginal or rectal fluids, it does spread through close contact during sexual activity, the CDC says.

A vaccine is available in Canada that provides protection against the monkeypox virus. It can be used to manage spread of monkeypox and prevent serious illness in people who have been exposed.

Public health teams will assess if vaccination is appropriate for close contacts.

The risk of monkeypox to the general public is very low, however, and there is no need for the general public to get vaccinated, the CDC says.

People who have been exposed should monitor for symptoms, which can present from five to 21 days after exposure.

If you develop symptoms, visit a health care professional. Wear a mask and cover the lesions, and inform the clinic ahead of time of the reason for your visit.

Learn more about monkeypox on the BC CDC website.

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