Toronto reports 21 mpox cases so far this year, after 27 cases in all of 2023

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Twenty one cases of mpox have been confirmed in Toronto since the start of this year compared with a total of 27 cases for all of 2023, Toronto Public Health said on Wednesday.

The public health unit is encouraging eligible residents to get vaccinated against the virus formerly known as monkeypox amid the rise in cases.

It said travel is not a significant factor among the current cases, which suggests local transmission. The public health unit also said none of the affected individuals were fully vaccinated.

“Amidst increased cases of mpox in Toronto, it’s important to recognize that cases are predominantly non-travel-related, emphasizing the importance of vaccination,” Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, wrote in a statement.

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“Completing the two-dose vaccination series provides the best protection against mpox and helps reduce serious symptoms.”

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The public health unit said the virus has spread recently mostly between people who have had intimate or sexual contact, with men who have sex with men the most affected.

The virus spreads through contact with infected lesions, skin blisters, body fluids or respiratory secretions.

Symptoms can start five to 21 days after exposure and include fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes and a rash or blisters and lesions on the skin.

Individuals who are members of the LGBTQ+ community who had a confirmed sexually transmitted infection, have or are planning to have two or more sexual partners, or have attended venues for sexual contact such as sex clubs are among those eligible to receive the mpox vaccine.

“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,” Devan Nambiar, manager at Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance wrote in a statement.

“Mpox has not been entirely eradicated and we want you to take care of yourself and protect your sexual partners.”

The monkeypox disease comes from the same family of viruses that cause smallpox, which the World Health Organization declared eradicated around the globe in 1980. Smallpox vaccines have proven effective in combating the monkeypox virus.


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