Saskatchewan reports 1st confirmed case of monkeypox

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The telltale lesions of monkeypox, as seen on the skin of an infected rhesus macaque, a type of monkey found throughout Asia. (Journal of Veterinary Sciences - image credit)
The telltale lesions of monkeypox, as seen on the skin of an infected rhesus macaque, a type of monkey found throughout Asia. (Journal of Veterinary Sciences - image credit)

The Saskatchewan government has confirmed that the province has its first known case of monkeypox.

The provincial Ministry of Health made the announcement in a release on Wednesday afternoon. The ministry did not reveal the person's location, gender or age due to the risk of identifying them.

"Currently the risk within the province of Saskatchewan, and generally in Canada, is low. But residents are encouraged to be aware of the symptoms and to contact a health provider if they suspect they may be infected or if they suspect they may have been in contact with a person who is infected with monkeypox," said Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Julie Kryzanowski.

Public health is investigating the case and has begun contact tracing. It's believed the infection happened outside of the province, the release said.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Government of Canada listed 477 total monkeypox cases in the country, not including the new Saskatchewan case.

Monkeypox is normally spread through face-to-face close contact, touching bodily fluids or exposure to contaminated objects like bed linens or clothing.

Symptoms include fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.

Kryzanowski said people should be vigilant about the risk of infection.

"For people who are exposed to monkeypox, for people who develop monkeypox as an infectious disease, it can cause complications," she said.

"The symptoms may be severe in terms of the presentation. So it is important that people are able to receive the correct diagnosis, the correct treatment, and that contacts can be notified as well."

Anyone who has travelled to areas of Canada or other countries with confirmed cases of monkeypox is asked to contact HealthLine 811 or a health care provider if they develop a fever or other disease symptoms.

The provincial government has increased surveillance for monkeypox and has alerted doctors and hospitals about signs, symptoms and treatment.

The ministry says it will continue to work with the Public Health Agency of Canada and National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg to investigate any other potential cases.

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