Montreal public health calls for vigilance as 2 new cases of mpox detected
Montreal public health detected two cases of mpox and is calling on health-care professionals and the general population to remain vigilant.
Although the World Health Organization (WHO) still considers the global situation related to mpox, formerly known as monkeypox, to be a public health emergency of international concern, Quebec's Ministry of Health had announced on Feb. 14 that the outbreak of mpox had been contained.
Montreal public health says in a news release that the two new patients are men who had sex with men, likely outside the country. One had one dose of the vaccine, while the other had two, the release says.
The Imvamune vaccine reduces the risk of infection and the severity of the disease. The vaccination rate of people infected with the virus is 54 percent for the first dose and 24 percent for the second, the release says.
Even though public health officials believe the risks of local transmission are low following these two cases, they recommend that at-risk individuals get vaccinated.
"Our vaccination rates could really be improved. It would allow us to be better protected and prevent the risk of local transmission," explained Dr. Geneviève Bergeron, chief medical officer of Montreal public health's prevention and control of infectious diseases department.
"There is no vaccine that is 100 percent effective, but we know the vaccine is effective. Among people who have received the vaccine, we see presentations that are less severe. Fewer lesions, fewer complications."
The virus is transmitted through direct contact of the skin or mucous membranes with the lesions of an infected person or their bodily fluids. It can also be transmitted through respiratory droplets during prolonged close contact.
The main symptoms are initially fever, headaches, fatigue, chills, body aches, and lymph node inflammation.
Subsequently, there is the appearance of skin eruptions on the face and elsewhere on the body. These skin eruptions can be extremely painful.
Between May and October 2022, 400 probable and confirmed cases of mpox were diagnosed in Montreal. Throughout Quebec, there were 526 probable or confirmed cases.
The last appearances of mpox in Montreal date back to the fall of 2022.
Public health estimates that about 54 percent of the at-risk population (men who have sex with men) have had a first dose, but only 24 percent have had a second dose.
As cases tick upwards in other cities, one Montreal men's health organization, RÉZO, is reviving an old awareness campaign.
"We are there to listen and to inform again about the transmission mode, about what mpox is and what are the symptoms and to continue to give the information about the vaccination sites," said director general Alexandre Dumont Blais.
Montreal public health says those eligible for the vaccine can make an appointment through the Clic Santé website or show up at a walk-in clinic.