Quebec to provide update on monkeypox outbreak as province confirms 16 cases

Quebec's public health department is set to give its first press conference on the growing monkeypox outbreak as the province recorded its 16th confirmed case Wednesday.

Interim public health director Dr. Luc Boileau will provide an update for the media Thursday morning alongside Dr. Geneviève Bergeron, the medical officer of health emergencies and infectious diseases at the Montreal Regional Public Health Department, and Dr. Caroline Quach, a microbiologist and infectious disease expert at the Sainte-Justine hospital.

CTV News will have live coverage of the update at 9 a.m. on ctvmontreal.ca.

All of the confirmed cases in Canada are from Quebec, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said in a news release. Quebec has been the Canadian hotspot for the rare disease ever since the first two positive infections were confirmed on May 19. About a dozen suspected cases are also under investigation.

However, as samples from other provinces are being analyzed at the national microbiology laboratory in Winnipeg, more cases in Canada are expected to be confirmed in the coming days.

To help Quebec deal with its outbreak, PHAC sent a "small shipment" of the Imvamune vaccine from Canada's National Emergency Strategic Stockpile. Other provinces are also expected to receive what the federal government calls "pre-positioning supply shipments."

"At this point, and in alignment with international expert assessments, including the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no need for the vaccine to be used for mass immunization," Canada's public health agency said in the release.

"In Canada, experts and health authorities are continuing to investigate the spread of monkeypox and will regularly assess the situation as it evolves."

In the next few days, PHAC says it will release guidance on infection prevention and control based on research from international and domestic partners.

While monkeypox is not classified as a sexually transmitted infection, most cases in Canada have been transmitted through sexual activity and are mild infections, officials say.

That's why Quebec public health recommends people who have been in close contact with a suspected case or someone with similar symptoms to watch for symptoms for 21 days and to avoid sexual contact. If symptoms arise, people are advised to get tested by a health-care professional.

Symptoms of monkeypox include lesions on the mouth or genitals, which usually appear after several days of other common symptoms, including fever, night sweats, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and joint or muscle pain.

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