Canada now has 77 confirmed cases of monkeypox, with 71 in Quebec, five in Ontario and one in Alberta.
“Anyone, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, could get infected and spread the virus if they come into close contact, including intimate sexual contact with an infected person or a contaminated object,” she added.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) website, monkeypox is a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans and it comes from the same family of viruses that causes smallpox, which was declared to be eradicated in 1980.
Monkeypox symptoms consist primarily of skin lesions on the mouth and genitals, and they can also include fever and headaches, as well as joint and muscle pain, according to the WHO.
Globally, there are 550 confirmed cases in 30 non-endemic countries where the virus has not usually been found.
Canada confirmed its first two cases of monkeypox on May 19 when two individuals in Quebec tested positive for the rare disease.
However, government officials have so far stayed clear of confirming the origin of monkeypox in Canada citing concerns of privacy and stigmatization.
Despite the growing number of cases since then, deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said last week that mass vaccination is not needed, yet.
Njoo said because the virus “doesn’t discriminate” and can be spread through close contact with an infected person, people can avoid infection by “maintaining physical distance from people outside their homes.”
“As well, wearing masks, covering coughs and sneezes, and practicing frequent handwashing continues to be important, especially in public spaces,” he told reporters at a health briefing last week.
— with files from the Canadian Press, Saba Aziz and Sean Boynton