Hamilton

Halton region announces its 1st confirmed case of Monkeypox

Halton Region Public Health says it has confirmed its first reported case of the monkeypox virus.

Halton Region Public Health says the person is isolating at home and all contacts have been notified

Halton has its first confirmed case of Monkeypox. (FPDay6MonkeyPox)

Halton Region Public Health says it has confirmed its first reported case of the monkeypox virus.

"The individual is currently isolating at home and all contacts have been notified by Halton Region Public Health," read a media release on Wednesday afternoon.

CBC Hamilton has contacted the public health unit for further comment.

This comes as the country has seen at least 100 cases, including some in Toronto.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include:

  • A fever.
  • A headache.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Low energy.
  • Muscle aches.
  • A skin rash, usually on the face, palms and soles, or lesions. 

The rash usually starts a day or two after getting a fever, said the public health unit.

The lesions, which can range from a few to thousands, can be flat or slightly raised with clear or yellowish fluid before crusting up and falling off like chickenpox.

"While most people infected with monkeypox will have mild symptoms, some people such as children, pregnant women and those with immunodeficiencies are at higher risk for severe disease," Halton's medical officer of health Dr. Hamidah Meghani said.

The fatality rate of monkeypox is currently around one per cent, according to public health.

How does Monkeypox spread?

Monkeypox is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus.

It can spread through close contact, including respiratory droplets in the air, skin-to-skin contact or if someone touches contaminated surfaces such as clothes or bedding.

Spread can also happen through bites or scratches from infected animals.

"When seeking medical care you should wear a high quality medical mask and cover up all lesions," Meghani said.

The public health unit said the symptoms can start within five to 21 days after exposure to monkeypox, but usually appear in six to 13 days.

A person can be contagious for five days before the onset of the rash and until new skin has formed over the cleared rash.

Practicing physical distancing, masking and good hand hygiene can lower risk of exposure to monkeypox, according to the public health unit.

How do you treat it?

There aren't really any treatment options. The symptoms eventually go away on their own in two weeks to a month.

People who have been exposed to monkeypox can get the smallpox vaccine Imvamune which may prevent infection or lessen the severity of symptoms.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bobby Hristova is a journalist with CBC Hamilton. He reports on all issues, but has a knack for stories that hold people accountable, stories that focus on social issues and investigative journalism. He previously worked for the National Post and CityNews in Toronto. You can contact him at bobby.hristova@cbc.ca.

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