Toronto investigating first suspected case of monkey pox

Toronto health officials say they are investigating the city’s first suspected case of monkey pox.

In a press release issued Saturday afternoon, Toronto Public Health (TPH) said the suspected infection was found in a male resident in his 40s.

TPH said the patient had recently been in contact with a person who traveled to Montreal and is currently in a stable condition in hospital and recovering.

Members of the public may have been exposed to the virus if they visited the Axis Club (located at 722 College Street) or Woody’s bar (located at 467 Church Street) on May 13 or 14.

Officials stressed that the risk to the general public is very low.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by a virus normally endemic to Central and West Africa. It was first identified in monkeys, but its origin is still unknown,” TPH said in the press release.

Symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that often starts on the face and spreads to other parts of the body.

TPH said that in most cases, people with monekypox infection will recover on their own without treatment.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is investigating about two dozen possible monkeypox infections in addition to confirmed cases in Quebec and says the virus itself is spread through prolonged close contact.

It’s unclear how widespread the virus is in the country, but Canada’s top doctor has said PHAC is considering offering smallpox vaccines — which can protect against monkey pox — to prevent infection.

“Quebec had some interest in the contacts, so that’s being discussed now, but of course we need to know about the epidemiology as soon as possible,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam Thursday.

In the meantime, TPH advises close contacts of people with a suspected or confirmed case to monitor for symptoms for 21 days after exposure. If symptoms develop, they should self-isolate, seek care, and get tested.

With files from the Canadian Press

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