Vancouver Coastal Health is opening more clinics to provide monkeypox vaccines.
The health authority said that while the number of monkeypox cases in B.C. remains low, limited community transmission has been identified in Vancouver.
All cases reported to date in B.C. are among men who have sex with other men, Vancouver Coastal Health said Monday, but any person who has close and prolonged contact with a person who has monkeypox may be at risk of infection.
Vaccinations are being offered to those 18 and older who are transgender people or who belong to the LGBTQ2 community, and who meet additional high-risk criteria.
Vancouver Coastal Health said the vaccine is not recommended for the general public.
Last week, Island Health reported its first case of monkeypox, bringing the total number of cases in British Columbia to 21.
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All other cases of monkeypox in B.C. are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region.
The monkeypox virus does not spread easily from person to person, Coastal Health said. All identified local transmission has involved prolonged skin-to-skin contact, which is suspected to be the primary way the virus is spread.
Symptoms consist primarily of skin lesions on the mouth and genitals, and can also include fever, headaches and joint and muscle pain, according to the World Health Organization. They usually appear one to two weeks after exposure, but can take anywhere between five and 21 days.
People are considered to be infections from when the symptoms first appear to the point the sores crust over, and dry new skin is visible, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Most patients have mild symptoms and don’t require medical intervention, it added.
Vancouver Coastal Health said anyone who is vaccinated should still continue to be cautious and take steps to protect themselves and others, especially if they are experiencing symptoms.
Information about monkeypox clinics and booking an appointment in Vancouver Coastal Health can be found on its website.