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Public Health Ontario reports 367 confirmed cases 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. Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP, File

Public Health Ontario says there were 367 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the province as of Thursday, up from 326 on Monday.

The agency’s latest report says most of the cases — nearly 78 per cent — were reported in Toronto.

Almost all of the people affected are male, with only two reported in female patients.

Public Health Ontario says the average age of confirmed cases is just under 36 years old.

The report says 11 people have been hospitalized with the illness and two are in intensive care.

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It says there are also 12 probable cases, 10 of which are in men.

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

Dr. Kieran Moore, the province’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.

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: 'Health Matters: Staying safe as monkeypox spreads'
Health Matters: Staying safe as monkeypox spreads

Common symptoms include rash, oral and genital lesions and swollen lymph nodes.

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.

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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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