For the first time in months, Nova Scotia has reported a new confirmed case of mpox in the Halifax region.
“The person appears to have contracted the illness while travelling outside the province. Symptoms appeared after the person’s return to Nova Scotia,” the province said in a release.
“Public Health has been following this case closely and has identified only one contact.”
The release said the risk to the general public is “very low,” and those at the highest risk of contracting mpox are those who have been in close or intimate contact with someone who has an active infection.
“I want to encourage people who are at highest risk, who haven’t yet been vaccinated, to go get vaccinated, and to complete your two-dose series,” said Dr. Jesse Kancir, the province’s lead medical officer of health for mpox, in the release.
“While we have not seen many cases of mpox here in Nova Scotia, there is a risk of a resurgence in Canada with increased summer travels and large gatherings.”
Nova Scotia has only had one other case of mpox reported in August 2022. That case was also contracted while outside of the province.
Imvamune, the vaccine that helps prevent mpox infection, can be requested from physicians, community pharmacy primary care clinics, and some Public Health offices.
The Halifax Sexual Health Centre will hold mpox pre-exposure immunization clinics in the coming weeks. More information will be shared about dates and times as they become available.
“The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends Imvamune be used as a preventive, two-dose vaccine for those at highest risk, with doses separated by at least 28 days,” the release said.
The publicly-funded vaccine is available to those who identify as a cisgender or transgender queer man, a two-spirit person or a non-binary person who has sexual contact with a cisgender or transgender queer man, a two-spirit person or a non-binary person, and meets at least one of the following criteria:
- Two or more sexual partners since May 2022 as defined above, or is planning to have two or more sexual partners;
- A diagnosis of a bacterial sexually transmitted infection since May 2022;
- Attended, worked at, or volunteered at an event/social venue for sexual contact, such as a bath house or sex club, since May 2022, or is planning to;
- Had anonymous sex since May 2022, or is planning to;
- Engaged as a worker or a client in sex work since May 2022 or is planning to.
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The vaccine is also available to those who have had sexual contact with someone who meets the above criteria.
“Only residents of Nova Scotia or people living in the province for prolonged periods, such as post-secondary students or people here for work, who meet the eligibility criteria will be offered the vaccine,” the release said.
Mpox, a viral disease, enters the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract or through mucous membranes, such as the eyes, nose or mouth.
People who have a rash or sores on their skin are asked to talk to their health-care provider and let them know if they had sexual activity or close personal contact with others in the last 21 days.
Those who have been identified as a close contact, or who develop symptoms, can contact their local Public Health office for advice on what to do next.
“Avoid any direct touching of other people, cover all sores with bandages or clothing, wear a mask while you have any symptoms, and follow isolation instructions provided by Public Health,” the release said.