Beginning tomorrow, Toronto Public Health (TPH) will hold the first of a series of community-based vaccination clinics to curb the spread of the monkeypox virus.
Working together with the Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance (GMSH) and other community partners, vaccination clinics will be held over the coming weeks to offer protection to individuals who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, those with high risk contacts and those who have a higher risk of being exposed to the virus. A clinic on Sunday, June 12 will vaccinate employees in Toronto bathhouses.
As of Friday, June 10, there were 11 confirmed cases in Toronto. Monkeypox spreads through contact with body fluids such as fluids from the monkeypox lesions, contaminated clothing or bedding, or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact. It can also be spread through bites or scratches from infected animals. Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can spread monkeypox through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores or by sharing contaminated items. However, during this outbreak, in a number of countries, gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men have been affected.
Yesterday, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) released interim guidance on use of the Imvamune vaccine in the context of monkeypox outbreaks. Imvamune was approved by Health Canada in 2020 against smallpox, monkeypox and other related orthopoxviruses. It is approved for individuals 18 years old and older.
Monkeypox symptoms include a lesion or rash, fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes. A rash or lesion will often appears within a few days after symptoms begin, starting on the face and spreading to other parts of the body. Most people recover from monkeypox on their own without treatment. Vaccination is being offered to protect against monkeypox illness.
TPH is asking residents who have these signs and symptoms to report them to their health care provider as soon as possible. Close contacts of people suspected or confirmed to have a monkeypox infection are advised to self-monitor for symptoms for 21 days after their last exposure. If symptoms develop, they should self-isolate, seek care and get tested. Health care providers are reminded that individuals suspected of monkeypox infection must be reported to Public Health Ontario. As with many other diseases spread through close contact, people can lower their risk by maintaining physical distance, frequent hand washing and respiratory hygiene, including masking. Common household disinfectants can kill the monkeypox virus.
TPH continues to follow up with anyone thought to be exposed to monkeypox. TPH also continues to work closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Health Ontario, and the Ontario Ministry of Health. TPH has communicated with local physicians to provide information on symptoms, laboratory testing and diagnosis, infection control precautions, treatment and reporting requirements for monkeypox.
More information about monkeypox is available on the City of Toronto’s Monkeypox webpage. TPH continues to update the number of confirmed, negative and cases under investigation every day from Monday to Friday by 3 p.m.
Residents can also find information about monkeypox on the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website or through Toronto Public Health’s Health Connections online or by calling 416-338-7600.
Additional information is also available on the GMSH website.
“I want to thank Toronto Public Health, the Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance and all community partners for working together to confront monkeypox. I am confident the initiatives underway will help inform residents about this virus and take action to protect themselves.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Thank you to the Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance and all our community partners who are helping inform and encourage people to take care of their health by getting the vaccine to prevent catching monkeypox. Together we can make sure people are aware of symptoms, know how to protect themselves, and how and where to access treatment.”
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health
“We’re encouraged that vaccination is starting and are confident that gay and bisexual men are ready to take action to protect themselves, their partners, and our community against monkeypox. By working together, we’ve been able to respond quickly and get resources to the community where they’re needed most.”
– Dane Griffiths, Director, Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance
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