Advertisement

Sask Health alerts public of elevated risk of acquiring monkeypox

Click to play video: 'Sask Health alerts public of elevated risk of acquiring monkeypox' Sask Health alerts public of elevated risk of acquiring monkeypox
The Saskatchewan Health Authority is alerting the public due to an elevated risk of acquiring monkeypox through anonymous sexual contact – Aug 14, 2022

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is alerting the public of an elevated risk of acquiring monkeypox through anonymous sexual contact.

Recent known cases have been associated with this form of transmission, and information reported to public health related to travel in and out of the province has prompted the alert.

Read more: 18+ eligible for 2nd COVID-19 vaccine booster in Saskatchewan on Monday

“We’ve have been following the global monkeypox outbreak very closely for the last five months now,” said Dr. Saqib Shahab, the Chief Medical Health Officer for Saskatchewan.

“We think now there is a higher risk that we may see ongoing transmission in Saskatchewan.”

There are three confirmed cases of monkeypox in the province. Shahab said the cases so far have been from people exposed outside of Saskatchewan, however there are now people who have been exposed inside the province.

Story continues below advertisement

“We have evidence of exposures happening in Saskatchewan,” Shahab said. “In many cases through anonymous sexual contacts. This is very similar to what has been seen in other provinces in Canada and internationally.”

Monkeypox is a rare viral illness that causes fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes and lethargy, followed by the development of a rash over a person’s body. Monkeypox does not spread easily from person to person. It is spread through:

  • Close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact.
  • Touching bodily fluids or lesions of a person who is sick with the disease.
  • Exposure to contaminated objects such as bed linens or clothing.

Anyone who believes they have been exposed to monkeypox can contact Healthline 811 to determine if they are considered at risk or eligible for a vaccine.

Read more: Saskatchewan child care fees going down 70% starting Sept. 1

Eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine has been expanded to adults 18 years and older who are close contacts or deemed higher risk for exposure. Referrals are available through 811.

“With travel, with interactions in summer, this risk was bound to change,” Shahab said. “Now we are really opening up the vaccine for not just post-exposure… but for pre-exposure as well with the groups we have identified.”

Story continues below advertisement

The province has ordered additional vaccines to help with both pre-exposure and post-exposure, and plan to order even more if the demand increases.

Shahab hopes with the increase in vaccines and awareness of the symptoms, transmission can stay low in the province.

“We are really hopeful both in Saskatchewan and Canada that through all these measures of raising awareness so people are aware of symptoms and the can isolate, seek testing and now seek pre exposure vaccines, we really hope we can control this outbreak,” he said.

If you have recently been in contact with an individual suspected or confirmed with monkeypox and develop fever or other symptoms of illness, you should call HealthLine 811 or consult a health-care provider immediately.

Click to play video: 'About 50% of monkeypox vaccine supply used, Canada passes 1,000 cases: Tam' About 50% of monkeypox vaccine supply used, Canada passes 1,000 cases: Tam
About 50% of monkeypox vaccine supply used, Canada passes 1,000 cases: Tam – Aug 12, 2022

Sponsored content