New Brunswick

N.B.'s top doctor expects more monkeypox cases in province

New Brunswick’s top doctor said with outbreaks in Ontario and Quebec it’s no surprise to see the province confirm its first case of monkeypox and said there will be more cases.

Province announced first confirmed case on Friday

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health, said New Brunswickers should expect more cases of monkeypox in the province. (Government of New Brunswick)

New Brunswick's top doctor said with monkeypox outbreaks in Ontario and Quebec it's no surprise to see the province confirm its first case, and said there will be more cases.

"The fact that this particular case did not travel means that somebody within the province or one of their contacts had travelled," said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health.

Public Health announced the first confirmed monkeypox case in the province on Friday.

The province had one suspected case of the disease back in June. While the individual tested negative, Public Health said clinical photos and the patient's travel history indicate they had the disease but didn't get tested soon enough.

Russell said she was not aware of any other confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox in the province, but couldn't say whether anyone was being tested as a direct result of the first confirmed case.

Vaccines

Because of a lack of vaccine supply, Russell said, the province is limiting monkeypox vaccines to the individual cases and to their close contacts.

"We will be getting more over the next weeks and months," she said.

"We are looking at changing our strategy based on supply. But as of right now, we are going to continue with the strategy we have."

Public Health announced the first confirmed case of monkeypox in New Brunswick on Friday. (HO-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/The Canadian Press)

Russell said the province is having conversations with the federal government about obtaining more vaccine supply.

Russell said people who become infected with monkeypox typically see symptoms develop between six and 13 days after exposure.

These symptoms can include fever, aches and pains, swollen lymph nodes and a rash.

Russell said once someone has become infected, it is easier for them to transmit the disease to other household members.

"Household members can also be at risk," said Russell.

Raising awareness

While the disease has often spread between people who have been sexually intimate with each other, it hasn't been confirmed that monkeypox is transmitted through sexual activity.

Nevertheless, the province is targeting certain higher-risk groups.

"We know that people who are at risk right now can be people who either attend events or go to or use different dating apps for meeting people and having sexual relations," said Russell.

Examples of monkeypox lesions on a patient. (U.K. Health Security Agency)

Men who have sex with men (MSM) have been overrepresented in the latest outbreak of monkeypox, Canada's chief medical officer of health, Dr. Theresa Tam, has said.

Russell said the province is working with that community to spread awareness about the disease and how to avoid it.

But she said it's important to understand that MSM are not at an inherently higher risk of becoming infected with monkeypox, saying the disease is transmissible to and between people of all different genders and sexual orientations.

People born after 1972 are at a higher risk because that's when the province stopped giving out smallpox vaccines, which would have offered protection against monkeypox.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jordan Gill

Reporter

Jordan Gill is a CBC reporter based out of Fredericton. He can be reached at jordan.gill@cbc.ca.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now