Monkeypox confirmed in Oxford-Elgin even as 'waning' regionally, thanks to vaccine uptake

·2 min read

Southwestern Public Health has reported the first case of monkeypox in Oxford and Elgin counties as the number of cases in the London region sits at 15.

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 that is 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.

In London and Middlesex County, public health officials confirmed the first case of monkeypox on June 13 and have reported 15 cases to date.

“Fortunately, both at a local level and at a provincial level, the monkeypox outbreak is waning and that is due in large part to a tremendous uptake of vaccine amongst those that are at risk, as well as extensive awareness of the potential risks of this virus,” Middlesex-London medical officer of health Alex Summers said during a media briefing Thursday.

Most of the 15 monkeypox cases likely would have been transmitted locally, with some acquired in other parts of the province, Summers said, adding the risk of exposure to the broader community remains “very low.”

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

The health unit 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.

cleon@postmedia.com

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Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press