Hamilton Public Health (HPH) officials say the recent surge in monkeypox cases worldwide still poses little risk to local residents with only ten total cases reported as of last week.
During a board of health update, the city’s manager of infectious disease characterized exposure to the affliction as “very low” but said pre– and post– exposure treatments are available to the general public.
“Of the reported cases, 100 per cent of these are among males with an average age of 36 years,” said HPH’s Jordan Walker.
“The most common risk factors reported from cases to date include multiple sexual contacts in the last six months. Sex with same sex, a new sex contact in the last two months and anonymous sex.”
The city’s first case came to light June 25, according to Walker.
As of last week, the city’s distribution of post-exposure medications made it to 11 Hamiltonians while 199 doses of pre-exposure treatments have been distributed to those who have attended city clinics.
Currently the city is offering free weekly pre-exposure prophylaxis clinics jointly with HPH’s COVID 19 vaccination program at Limeridge Mall.
Public Health Ontario says there are now 478 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the province, the most of any region in Canada.
The agency’s latest report on the illness says 75 per cent of cases were reported in Toronto.
Most cases are reported in men but there are three are among females.
HPH are not reporting any hospitalizations due to the affliction, however, Ontario has reported 15 admissions since the first case was found in the province.
Quebec has reported 425 cases while British Columbia has had 85 cases.
Monkeypox is a viral infectious disease related to smallpox, from which most people recover on their own after a few weeks, but people can become very sick and could die in some circumstances, according to PHAC.
Symptoms of monkeypox include a painful rash that could last between 14 and 28 days, which can be accompanied by fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle pain, joint pain, back pain or exhaustion.
— With files from Global’s Teresa Wright, Heidi Lee and The Canadian Press