1st case of monkeypox detected in B.C., local Centre for Disease Control confirms

A case of monkeypox has been confirmed in B.C., the province’s Centre for Disease Control confirmed in a statement Monday.

The BCCDC said the case was confirmed through lab testing, and is waiting additional confirmation at the National Microbiology Laboratory. The BCCDC said the person who has the confirmed case lives in Vancouver.

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic we further confirmed such cases through the national centre, until we’re essentially accredited for that. That’s the final confirmation, nonetheless we’re confident that this case is in place,” Health Minister Adrian Dix said during a news conference Monday.

“The risk to the overall public is low, but we want to make sure everyone is aware and knows about this issue and is aware of all the steps being taken to support this individual, this individual’s close contacts and the community.” 

Since May of this year, more than 700 cases of monkeypox have been detected in non-endemic countries, the BCCDC said. In Canada, dozens of people have tested positive, with most of the country’s confirmed cases recorded in Quebec.

Late last month, a couple of potential cases were investigated in B.C., but officials determined those people did not have the disease. 

“Monkeypox is spread from person to person through contact with sores and items like bedding or towels that have monkeypox virus on them,” a statement from health officials released Monday said.

“It can also spread through respiratory droplets such as coughs and sneezes during prolonged close, face-to-face contact with a person who has monkeypox.”

Monkeypox was discovered in the late 1950s, and is a disease caused by a similar virus as the one that causes smallpox.

Symptoms are similar as well, including fever, chills, exhaustion, and head, muscle and back ache. Unlike smallpox, it can also cause lymph node swelling, and it’s considered to be more mild.

Later, those who’ve been infected get a rash and raised bumps filled with fluid. Those bumps turn to scabs over time and fall off.

A B.C. physician told CTV New Vancouver last month that some myths are circulating suggesting there is a connection between COVID-19 and the monkeypox virus. 

“It’s a DNA virus so it has nothing to do with COVID, which is an RNA virus,” Dr. Rhonda Low explained. “Some conspiracy theorists have managed to think that there’s a link, but there’s no link.”

Anyone who has developed signs or symptoms, including these blisters, should get advice from their doctor.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Kendra Mangione  

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