Monkeypox case confirmed in local community: Public-health officials

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Southwestern Public Health has reported the first case of monkeypox in Oxford and Elgin counties.

Public health officials offered few details about the infected person but said the patient is an adult male.

“Monkeypox does not typically spread easily among people without close, prolonged contact with a case,” Ninh Tran, Southwestern Public Health’s medical officer of health, said in a statement Thursday.

“As with many other diseases that spread through close contact, people can lower their risk by maintaining physical distance, frequent hand washing, and practising respiratory hygiene including masking.”

Monkeypox, a viral illness endemic in parts of central and west Africa, is transmitted by direct contact with skin lesions, respiratory secretions or materials containing the virus, such as bedding, officials said. Symptoms typically develop five to 21 days after exposure and individuals are contagious for seven to 14 days and up to 21 days.

Officials advise anyone who develops a rash after feeling unwell or following exposure to self-isolate and contact their medical care provider or Telehealth.

Southwestern Public Health is offering pre-exposure vaccination appointments to individuals who have a high risk of transmission or complications from an infection. Information about clinic hours and eligibility can be found at swpublichealth.ca/sexualhealth-monkeypox.

The Middlesex-London Health Unit confirmed the first case of monkeypox in the London region on June 13 and has reported 15 cases to date.

While the cases are among Middlesex and London residents, the number of cases is not an indication they contracted the virus locally, a health unit spokesperson said by email Thursday.

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Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press