Monkeypox outbreak: Canada now has 77 confirmed cases

Click to play video: 'Monkeypox mortality rate unclear due to lack of surveillance in some countries: WHO'
Monkeypox mortality rate unclear due to lack of surveillance in some countries: WHO
WATCH: Monkeypox mortality rate unclear due to lack of surveillance in some countries, WHO says – Jun 1, 2022

Canada now has 77 confirmed cases of monkeypox, with 71 in Quebec, five in Ontario and one in Alberta.

Speaking to reporters at a health briefing Friday, Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada, said that the risk of exposure to monkeypox “isn’t exclusive to any group or setting.”

“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.

READ MORE: Outbreaks of diseases like monkeypox becoming more frequent, WHO warns

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.

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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.

Click to play video: 'WHO doesn’t expect monkeypox to turn into another pandemic'
WHO doesn’t expect monkeypox to turn into another pandemic

Canada confirmed its first two cases of monkeypox on May 19 when two individuals in Quebec tested positive for the rare disease.

Monkeypox cases in Canada are suspected to have originated from a local sauna in Montreal, doctors have told Global News.

However, government officials have so far stayed clear of confirming the origin of monkeypox in Canada citing concerns of privacy and stigmatization.

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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 

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