Following news of two confirmed cases of monkeypox in Quebec, health authorities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick say they’re ensuring the right steps will be in place if the virus is to arrive in the Maritimes.
In a statement released Thursday, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said two individuals in Quebec tested positive for the rare disease.
Twenty other suspected cases are currently being investigated.
“New Brunswick is aware of an evolving situation regarding monkeypox in Canada, the United States and Europe,” New Brunswick’s Department of Health said in a statement given to Global News.
New Brunswick Health said they will continue to stay informed on the situation as it evolves and will participate in national calls on the topic to ensure “awareness and alignment.”
Monkeypox is a zoonotic infectious disease that results in occasional human infections usually associated with exposure to infected animals or contaminated materials, according to PHAC.
On Wednesday, the U.S. confirmed its first case of monkeypox in a man who recently travelled to Canada.
“We have no reports of monkeypox to-date in Nova Scotia but continue to monitor the situation here and globally,” the Nova Scotia Health Authority said in a statement on Thursday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the viral disease was first recorded in 1970 and has since been reported in humans in other central and western African countries.
“We are working to prepare for any cases here in New Brunswick, including developing communications materials for the public and frontline healthcare providers, ensuring lab capacity for testing, reporting and surveillance and for case and contact management guidance,” the statement from New Brunswick’s Department of Health read.
Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. Patients develop lesions that spread throughout the body before falling off.
The illness typically lasts for 2-4 weeks and has been shown to cause death in as many as one in ten people who contract the disease in Africa, according to the CDC.
This is the first time monkeypox appears to be spreading among people who haven’t recently returned from Africa.
On Friday, France, Germany and Belgium reported their first cases, with the number of cases increasing to above 20 in both Spain and the UK.