Public Health Ontario reports 1st confirmed female case of monkeypox

This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. U.S. health officials are expanding the group of people recommended to get vaccinated against the monkeypox virus. They also say they are providing more monkeypox vaccine, working to expand testing, and taking other steps to try to get ahead of the outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, file). (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, file)

Public Health Ontario says it has recorded the province’s first case of monkeypox in a female.

The agency says there are 156 confirmed cases of the disease in the province as of July 11, with all but one of them being male.

The average age of the confirmed cases, which are mostly reported in Toronto, is 37.

Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health recently said monkeypox will likely be around for “many months” because of its lengthy incubation period but he noted that Ontario isn’t seeing rapid growth of the virus.

Public health officials say most cases are among men who report intimate contact with men but say anyone can get monkeypox.

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The virus generally doesn’t spread easily and is transmitted through prolonged close contact via respiratory droplets, direct contact with skin lesions or bodily fluids, or through contaminated clothes or bedding.

Click to play video: 'WHO director calls for increased testing, more access to vaccines and antivirals to combat monkeypox'
WHO director calls for increased testing, more access to vaccines and antivirals to combat monkeypox

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.

Local public health units across Ontario are holding vaccination clinics for those the province deems at high-risk of contracting monkeypox.

Moore has said the province is not looking to expand its vaccination strategy at this time because “it appears to be working.”

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