Saskatchewan

Sask. reports 3 more monkeypox cases, bringing total of confirmed cases to 6: health ministry

Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health says there are now six confirmed cases of monkeypox in the province.

No active case contact investigations at this time, says Ministry of Health

A registered nurse prepares a dose of a monkeypox vaccine in a July file photo. In Saskatchewan, the province is now reporting six confirmed cases of monkeypox. (Rick Bowmer/The Associated Press)

Saskatchewan's Ministry of Health says there are now six confirmed cases of monkeypox in the province.

The Public Health Agency of Canada was still reporting three cases in Saskatchewan online as of Friday morning, but in an update, the province's Ministry of Health said the actual number is six.

The Public Health Agency's current situation map was updated by Friday afternoon to indicate the six confirmed cases in Saskatchewan.

In an email to CBC, the Ministry of Health said it reported an additional three cases to PHAC on Tuesday.

"There may be a public posting time lag for the federal agency," the provincial ministry said, adding that as of Wednesday, Saskatchewan was reporting six confirmed cases of monkeypox.

"The compilation of cases and reporting those to PHAC occurs at a regular interval but these reporting intervals do not reflect case work by local public health officials when cases are identified," said a spokesperson of the Ministry of Health on Friday.

The first three cases in Saskatchewan were confirmed as of mid-August. The Ministry of Health did not specify in its email when the three additional cases were first detected.

There are no active case contact investigations at this time, according to the ministry's email.

In an email to CBC, a spokesperson with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada said it updates its monkeypox map twice weekly, with one of those updates scheduled for Friday.

Province recommends vaccination for eligible people

Monkeypox is a viral infection that usually causes a painful rash, but most people recover on their own after a while, according to Health Canada.

It is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, but the virus can spread through close contact during sexual activity, the province said online.

While sometimes people can get very sick or die, the federal government said that as of Oct. 14, Canada has had no reported deaths related to the disease since the beginning of the outbreak.

In Saskatchewan, public health officials usually investigate each identified case to locate contacts and offer vaccination for anyone eligible, the Ministry of Health said.

"So far most cases have acquired monkeypox while outside of Saskatchewan," the ministry said in its email.

"Close contacts have been followed up by public health and offered vaccinations as well."

The province recommends that people at higher risk should get vaccinated.

Health authority warns of phone scam

Earlier this week, in a public warning about a monkeypox-related phone scam, a social media post from the Saskatchewan Health Authority said "there is currently not a known case" of monkeypox in Saskatchewan.

When asked about confirmed cases in the province, the health authority said since the post was issued, public health officials in Saskatchewan have been updated on the current monkeypox case numbers. 

"The report on the new cases was generated October 18, the same day as the social media post was delivered," a health authority spokesperson wrote in an email to CBC on Friday.

The phone scam involves callers telling someone they are a close contact to someone with monkeypox, the health authority said on social media.

The scammer then asks the person to press a number. The health authority advised that people hang up instead and not press any numbers.

"The calls that we were aware of requested information or actions not consistent with SHA processes," the health authority's email said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Theresa Kliem

Journalist

Theresa Kliem is a journalist with CBC Saskatoon. She is an immigrant to Canada and loves telling stories about people in Saskatchewan. Email theresa.kliem@cbc.ca.

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