The suspected case of monkeypox announced earlier this week in New Brunswick has been deemed negative by the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg.
However, public health says it cannot “safely rule out” that it was monkeypox, as the specimen was not collected when symptoms were present.
A spokesperson says that is because symptoms had already been resolved when the person sought medical help.
News of the suspected case was revealed during question period in the New Brunswick legislature Wednesday morning by Health Minister Dorothy Shephard.
New Brunswick Liberal Leader Roger Melanson and New Brunswick Green Party Leader David Coon were among those who voiced criticism over the method of communication.
Shephard spoke with CTV News Friday after the results from the suspected case were revealed.
“I think that we have mechanisms to inform the public,” she said.
“I believe that we have stated that this is one suspected case, which came back negative, that public health followed their full process with regard to contact tracing, and everything else that they do when they have a suspected case of any communicable disease.”
Moving forward, public health says it will only be reporting confirmed cases to the public.
The New Brunswick Government initially said the suspected case was travel-related and the person’s close contacts were notified. The province maintains the risk to the public from this case is “very low.”
New Brunswick is the only Maritime province to have had a suspected case of monkeypox.
As of Friday, 58 cases have been confirmed in Canada. The rare disease had never been detected in Canada before last month.
Health officials say there will likely be more cases reported in Canada in the coming days and weeks.
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