Remarks from the Chief Public Health Officer, June 10, 2022
June 10, 2022 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada
We are here today to provide an update on our efforts to address cases of monkeypox in Canada. The Public health Agency of Canada is working closely with international, provincial and territorial partners to keep Canadians safe. We are closely monitoring emerging data and as we learn more, our response and advice will continue to evolve.
Over the past week, the Public Health Agency of Canada has confirmed a total of 112 cases across the country. This includes 1 case in British Columbia, 4 in Alberta, 9 in Ontario and 98 in Quebec.
Among cases for whom information is available, age ranged from 20 to 63 years. All cases to date are male and the majority report having sexual contact with men. However, this virus can spread to anyone through close contact with an infected person.
The National Microbiology Lab, or NML, is also performing confirmatory testing on a number of other suspected cases. Therefore, we are preparing for more confirmed cases in the coming days and weeks.
In addition, the NML is conducting sequencing of the virus causing Canadian cases. Early result indicate that cases in Canada are related to the international outbreak. Further work is being done to better understand chains of transmission domestically, in support of the ongoing outbreak investigations.
Working together with provinces and territories, our primary goal is to contain the outbreak. This means rapidly stopping chains of transmission to prevent the establishment of monkeypox in Canada, and protect public health and health care in Canada. We are also focused on protecting those at the highest risk of severe outcomes, including immunocompromised individuals, pregnant people, and children under 12 years of age.
In support of this approach, today, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization, or NACI, released new recommendations for the use of Imvamune, a Health Canada approved vaccine for immunization against monkeypox.
After reviewing the data on the current status of the monkeypox outbreak and evidence on the safety and protection offered by the Imvamune vaccine, NACI recommends that a single dose of Imvamune may be offered to individuals with high-risk exposures of a probable or confirmed case of Monkeypox, or within a setting where transmission is happening, ideally within 4 days of exposure.
Affected provinces are currently implementing vaccination strategies based on their local epidemiology and PHAC is currently working with manufacturers to ensure sufficient vaccine supply moving forward, and planning with partners to ensure we are equipped to respond effectively to the evolving situation. At this time, a mass vaccination campaign is not needed to address this outbreak in Canada.
We have also been developing guidance to support public health and healthcare providers across the country. This includes interim guidance on infection prevention and control for suspect, probable or confirmed monkeypox within healthcare settings, as well as guidance on public health management of cases and contacts.
We have met with and continue to engage with stakeholders to help raise awareness of the outbreak and reach communities that may be more at risk with information to help them protect their health and that of their loved ones.
With summer around the corner, people in Canada are gathering for festivals, concerts and celebrations. Now, more than ever, we need to equip individuals with the information they need to plan how they can celebrate safely and reduce their risks of contracting and spreading illness.
I want to remind everyone that Monkeypox is not limited to just one community. The virus can spread to anyone through close contact with an infected person or their contaminated objects.
We continue to ask that all health care providers in Canada remain vigilant and closely watch for patients with any symptoms of monkeypox, even atypical presentation, regardless of whether they have reported travel.
If you have been in close contact with someone with monkeypox or you develop symptoms, like a new rash or sores on your skin after you had sexual activity or close personal contact with others in the last 21 days, please contact your local public health unit and they will give you instructions on what to do next.
As we learn more about the virus, we will continue to provide regular updates to ensure people in Canada have the information they need to stay safe. Information is also available on canada.ca/monkeypox.
Public Health Agency of Canada
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