81 cases of monkeypox in B.C., with majority of patients in Vancouver area

Click to play video: 'Health Matters: Staying safe as monkeypox spreads'
Health Matters: Staying safe as monkeypox spreads
The outbreak of monkeypox has been declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization. Global News Morning speaks with Dr. Mark Lysyshyn from Vancouver Coastal Health about how to protect yourself from the virus, and who is eligible for a vaccine. – Jul 29, 2022

There are now 81 active cases of monkeypox in British Columbia, the bulk of which are in the Vancouver area, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

Sixty-nine cases were recorded in the Vancouver Coastal Health zone as of Thursday, with six each in the Island and Fraser Health areas.

In a news update, the BC CDC said monkeypox continues to pose a low risk to the general public.

Case numbers have risen since last week. On July 27, there were 61 cases of monkeypox, 54 of which were in the Vancouver Coastal Health area.

Around that time, the provincial government announced the monkeypox vaccine would be available to eligible patients in most areas of the province. A statement from the Ministry of Health said some community transmission had been identified, and the vaccine would be offered in the Vancouver, Coastal, Fraser, Island and Interior health regions.

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Priority is being given to patients in the Lower Mainland, where most infections have occurred, and contact tracing is underway to identify anyone else who could benefit from the vaccine.

Click to play video: 'More monkeypox vaccine is available in B.C.'
More monkeypox vaccine is available in B.C.

The B.C. government has already administered more than half of the 14,480 monkeypox vaccine doses it had as of last week.

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According to the Health Department, monkeypox, a member of the same family of viruses that causes smallpox, does not spread easily between people and all identified cases in the province have involved prolonged skin-to-skin contact, which is the suspected primary source of infection.

There are more than 900 cases of monkeypox in Canada, with the bulk of the caseload in Ontario and Quebec. Infections have been found in more than 70 countries, and the World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) last month.

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Most people who are infected with monkeypox can recover on their own after a few weeks, but in some circumstances, people can become very sick and die, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) states on its website.

Infected individuals usually develop symptoms five to 21 days after being exposed to the monkeypox virus, which includes a painful rash that could last between 14 and 28 days.

The rash can be accompanied by other symptoms, including fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle pain, joint pain, back pain and exhaustion.

PHAC advises individuals who are infected to isolate at home and contact their health-care provider or local public health authority.

With files from The Canadian Press

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