Montreal monkeypox Mylène Drouin

The monkeypox outbreak in Montreal is being linked to a super-spreader event in April

There are currently 126 confirmed cases of the virus in the city according to Montreal public health director Dr. Mylène Drouin.

There are currently 126 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the greater Montreal area, and a total of 132 in the province of Quebec.

In a press conference yesterday, Montreal public health director Dr. Mylène Drouin and Quebec interim public health director Dr. Luc Boileau confirmed that all the monkeypox cases in Montreal are in men aged 20 to 63, most of them men who had sex with other men. The outbreak has been traced back to a super-spreader event in late April where there were a number of anonymous contacts, which has made the outbreak difficult to trace.

While the vast majority of cases have not been severe, three men were briefly hospitalized. Over 3,000 doses of the smallpox vaccine — which is effective against monkeypox — have been administered to those close to the infected. The city has 25,000 doses ready for the target population. Even among those who’ve contracted monkeypox, getting the vaccine within 4 to 14 days of infection can reduce the severity of the virus.

The primary symptoms of monkeypox are painful lesions around the mouth and genitals, which may be preceded or accompanied by fever, night sweats, joint or muscle pain, swollen glands and headaches.

There are currently 126 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Montreal

Montreal public health officials first addressed the emergence of monkeypox in the city in a press conference on May 19. The first case of monkeypox in Montreal was reported on May 12, with symptoms first appearing on April 29, and is connected to a case in the U.S. Monkeypox is not an STD, but is typically spread among sexual partners and people who live together. There had previously been cases in the U.K., Spain and Portugal, and cases have also emerged in the U.S.

Drouin said last month that the monkeypox virus is spread by close personal contact and droplets, but is not airborne, so while steps are being taken to stop the spread, there is no need for panic. It is extremely unlikely that there would be the kind of community spread in public places that occurs with COVID-19, she said.

Reporting the virus is not mandatory, but Drouin suggested consulting a doctor if symptoms appear. Isolation at home was initially said to not be necessary, but is now recommended, as is wearing a mask and covering lesions to prevent transmission. While the literature on the virus suggests monitoring symptoms for 21 days, the majority of cases in Montreal have not lasted nearly that long.

For updates about the monkeypox situation in the city, please consult the Santé Montréal website.

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