News Release
March 20, 2024

Toronto Public Health (TPH) encourages eligible residents to get vaccinated against mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) after confirming 21 cases of the virus in Toronto since the start of the year, up notably compared to 27 confirmed cases reported in all of 2023.

Mpox is a virus that spreads from person to person through contact with infected lesions, skin blisters, body fluids or respiratory secretions. It can also be transmitted by contact with materials contaminated with the virus like clothing or bedding and through bites or scratches from infected animals. Currently, mpox has spread mostly between people who have had close/intimate or sexual contact with a person who has the virus – with gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men being most affected.

Travel is not a significant factor among current cases which suggests local community transmission of the virus. None of the current cases were fully vaccinated, emphasizing the importance of starting or completing the two-dose vaccine series for the best protection.

For those who do become infected, mpox symptoms can start five to 21 days after exposure and include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Swollen lymph nodes

These symptoms are followed by a rash or blisters and lesions on the skin that can be painful including around the genitals.

Eligible individuals who have not been vaccinated against mpox are encouraged to get their first dose of the vaccine as soon as possible with a second dose prescribed 28 days later. The vaccine becomes most effective after two weeks. Individuals planning to travel soon are encouraged to get vaccinated before leaving as cases are being reported in various regions around the world.

Residents are encouraged to inquire about vaccine availability where they access sexual health care. The vaccine is free of charge and an OHIP card is not required.

Vaccination can protect against the mpox virus and help reduce serious symptoms. Individuals who received a smallpox vaccination in the past are not protected against mpox. They should get vaccinated against mpox as soon as possible for the best protection.

Visit the City’s mpox webpage for more information including eligibility requirements.


“Amidst increased cases of mpox in Toronto, it’s important to recognize that cases are predominantly non-travel-related, emphasizing the importance of vaccination. Completing the two-dose vaccination series provides the best protection against mpox and helps reduce serious symptoms.”

– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health

“We want to remind cis and trans gay, bi, queer, and all men who have sex with men, to get their first and second dose of the mpox vaccine. Mpox has not been entirely eradicated and we want you to take care of yourself and protect your sexual partners”.

– Devan Nambiar, Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance

Toronto is home to more than three million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation and climate action, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Toronto Public Health Media Relations