Last updated: June 24, 2022 at 11:42 a.m.

Monkeypox is a rare viral illness that causes fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes and tiredness, followed by a rash over a person’s body. It is usually spread by very close contact with someone who has Monkeypox. The virus is similar to smallpox but Monkeypox is less contagious and has milder symptoms. Most people recover from Monkeypox on their own within 2 to 4 weeks. However, some people can get seriously sick.

We do not know where this virus came from but it was first seen in monkeys and is mostly found in central and western Africa. More recently, the virus has been spreading in other countries, including Canada.

Anyone can get Monkeypox. However, during this outbreak, in a number of countries, gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men have been affected.

Monkeypox typically spreads from a person with the virus to others through:

  • Prolonged close contact with respiratory droplets from breathing, talking, coughing or sneezing.
  • Skin-to-skin contact with lesions, blisters, rashes or bodily fluids such as saliva.
  • Contact with objects, fabrics and surfaces used by someone who has the virus.

The virus enters the body through breaks in the skin or through the eyes and mouth. It can also be transmitted from contact with infected animals through bites and scratches.

Someone with Monkeypox can usually pass on the virus when they develop a skin rash or lesions, but it may also spread when they have early symptoms including fever and headache.

At this time, Monkeypox has mostly spread between people who had close intimate/sexual contact with a person who has the virus. It does not spread as easily or quickly as COVID-19. The virus also does not spread through casual contact.

Symptoms usually start within 7 to 14 days after being exposed to Monkeypox, but can also start anywhere from 5 to 21 days later.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Feeling extremely tired
  • Rash or lesions generally appear 1 to 3 days after fever although in some recent cases it appears before fever or other symptoms.  In recent cases the rash is appearing around the mouth, genital or anorectal (bum) areas.

Monkeypox is diagnosed by a healthcare provider, based on a combination of factors, such as:

  • Symptoms
  • A laboratory test
  • Risk factors such as:
    • Exposure to a person who has or may have Monkeypox
    • Travel to a region where there is a confirmed case of Monkeypox

To reduce your chances of Monkeypox infection:

  • Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid prolonged close face-to-face contact with others, especially indoors.
  • Reduce or limit the number of people you have close contact with, including sexual partners.
  • Talk to sexual partners about sexual health, and use barriers such as gloves and condoms.
  • Avoid sharing objects such as toothbrushes, sex toys and drug use supplies.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently -touched surfaces (such as door handles, countertops and phones) and fabrics (such as clothing and bedding). Standard household cleaners/disinfectants can be used to kill the virus on surfaces.
  • Avoid touching bedding and laundry that has been in contact with someone who has the virus.
  • Avoid touching skin lesions or rashes on another person.
  • Stay home if you are sick, and encourage others to do the same.
  • If you have or think you have Monkeypox, avoid contact with animals, including household pets.
  • Wear a mask in indoor public spaces, when possible.
  • Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for someone who has the virus, including gown, gloves, respirator, and eye protection.

If you think you have Monkeypox, it is important to isolate right away and contact your health care provider.

People who have been in contact with a person who has Monkeypox should monitor themselves for symptoms for 21 days. If no symptoms appear you can continue with normal activities. If symptoms develop, you should isolate and contact your healthcare provider.

Toronto Public Health will follow up with and provide guidance to those who are confirmed to have Monkeypox and any of the people that may have been exposed to the virus

Most people do not require treatment for Monkeypox. Symptoms usually resolve on their own. Treatment is available for severely ill, hospitalized patients.

Imvamune® vaccine is approved in Canada for protection against monkeypox. Each eligible person receives one dose (0.5ml) of the Imvamune vaccine. The vaccine contains weakened virus and cannot make you sick.

The vaccine can be used for protection against Monkeypox before getting exposed to the virus (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) or after being exposed (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis).

Toronto Public Health continues to follow federal and provincial guidance on the administration of Imvamune vaccines to protect at-risk populations against the monkeypox virus. Based on Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines, clinics are intended for people 18 years old and older who are transgender or cisgender individuals who self-identify as a man and belonging to the community of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) community, as well as at least one of the following:

  • Have received a diagnosis of bacterial STI (i.e., chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) in the past 2 months;
  • Have had 2 or more sexual partners within the past 21 days or may be planning to;
  • Have attended venues for sexual contact within the past 21 (e.g., bath houses, sex clubs) or may be planning to, or who work/volunteer in these settings;
  • Have had anonymous/casual sex in the past 21 days (e.g., using online dating/ hookup apps) or may be planning to;
  • Engage in sex work or may be planning to, and their sexual contacts.

At this time, cis-gender (non-trans) women are not eligible for the vaccine unless identified as a close contact of a case.

No ID or OHIP required. No appointment needed, walk-ins welcome.

When the vaccine is used as Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, it should be given within 4 days, but can be given up to 14 days after the last exposure. Contact your healthcare provider or Toronto Public Health to find out if you are eligible for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis.

Toronto Public Health and community partners will be hosting the following Monkeypox vaccination clinics over the next few weeks for at-risk populations. An OHIP card is not needed to get vaccinated for monkeypox.

Clinic Address Day(s) and Hours of Operation
Metro Hall 214 Wellington St W, Main Floor Friday June 24, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.;

Saturday, June 25 and Sunday June 26 and July 3, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.;

Monday, June 27 to Thursday, June 30, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.;

Friday, July 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cloverdale Mall 250 The East Mall, Etobicoke Friday June 24, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.;

Saturday June 25 and Saturday July 2, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.;

Tuesday June 28 to Thursday June 30, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

1940 Eglinton 1940 Eglinton Ave E., Scarborough Friday June 24, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.;

Saturday June 25 and Saturday July 2, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.;

Tuesday June 28 to Thursday June 30, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

To view the latest data on Monkeypox in Toronto, visit Public Health Ontario’s Monkeypox webpage, updated twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The following City-run clinics provide the Monkeypox vaccine: Metro Hall, Cloverdale Mall, and 1940 Eglinton Ave E.

All City-run clinics are able to offer accommodation.

Vaccine Clinic Accessibility

Each City-run clinic has parking near the entrance, ramps, elevators, and wheelchairs. Staff are also on site at each clinic to support if required. Clients who need a care provider or service animal with them will be accommodated. There are also privacy rooms available upon request. If you require an accommodation, alert a staff member upon arrival or at any time while at the clinic.

Vaccine Clinic Accommodation Request

You may request an accommodation ahead of attending a City-run clinic. You will be asked the date and time when you plan to access your vaccination dose and a public health nurse will contact you within two business days to confirm the details of your request.

Request an Accommodation

Examples of accommodations we can provide include:

  • The use of a private area in the clinic to receive the vaccine
  • Using a guide to help navigate the clinic
  • Access to a cot to lie down after you have received the vaccine
  • Access to ASL interpretation (at least 48 hours’ notice required)

If you require assistance filling out the survey or requesting accommodation, please call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 (TTY: 416-392-0658).