Statement from the Minister of Health on Canada's Response to Monkeypox


May 24, 2022 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health issued the following statement to reflect on the efforts underway to address the emergence of new monkeypox cases in Canada:

“Today, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) confirmed 10 more cases of monkeypox in Quebec, bringing the total cases in Canada to 15. More samples from other jurisdictions in Canada are on the way to PHAC’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) in Winnipeg for confirmatory testing and we expect more cases to be confirmed in the coming days.

I know Canadians are concerned. I want to underscore that the health and safety of all Canadians remain our top priority. The Government of Canada is prepared to respond to emerging public health events and takes precautions to prevent the introduction and spread of communicable diseases. To that end, there are many actions underway to identify and contain the spread of monkeypox in Canada.

Last week, Canada’s Global Public Health Intelligence Network (GPHIN) system picked up a signal on the first cases of monkeypox internationally. The Agency also quickly sent out a notice to provinces and territories. The NML began to receive samples for testing mid-last week and on Thursday, May 19, Canada announced its first two cases in Quebec. This number grew to five cases on Friday. Our surveillance system is working, as is our testing system, though we will continue to refine both, including supporting provinces and territories in building their own testing capacities so cases can be identified and traced even more efficiently.

Over the course of the weekend, the government convened a meeting of the Chief Medical Officers of Health across the country to discuss the additional elements of the response plan, including appropriate clinical practice approaches. This includes the pre-positioning of the vaccine Imvamune and therapeutics from our National Emergency Strategic Stockpile (NESS) in jurisdictions across the country - starting with Quebec which has accepted our offer to receive a small shipment of Imvamune vaccine today to support their targeted response.

In the coming days, Canada will release updated guidance for infection prevention and control in our healthcare system. In the coming weeks, NACI guidance will further inform this guidance. We are also working on case and contact management protocols, including isolation advice.

I want to re-iterate to Canadians that this is a different situation than we saw ourselves in with the emergence of COVID-19. While global understanding of the monkeypox virus is still evolving, we do have a supply of vaccines, which we will be sure to maintain, and we are working hand-in-hand with our provincial and territorial counterparts to rollout our response plan as quickly as possible.

The Public Health Agency of Canada will continue to provide updates on progress. Canadians can find regular updates online. For now, I want to remind Canadians that this disease spreads via close contacts – so public health measures like physical distancing, handwashing, and respiratory etiquette such as wearing masks can help reduce your risk.”


Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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