Canada’s chief public health officer says the world must erect better defences against transmissible diseases as climate change and other factors raise the risk we will see more emerging infectious diseases in the years to come.
Dr. Theresa Tam’s comments come as Canada has now confirmed 58 cases of monkeypox, with 52 in Quebec, five in Ontario and one in Alberta.
Globally, there are 550 confirmed cases in 30 non-endemic countries where the virus has not usually been found.
Tam warns that while we know a lot about how the monkeypox virus behaves in countries where it is endemic, we know little about how it may behave in populations that are both mostly unvaccinated against it and have no natural levels of immunity.
Monkeypox is caused by a virus and spreads when humans come into direct contact with the virus, often through infectious sores, scabs, bodily fluids or respiratory secretions during prolonged, intimate contact.
She says thus far the cases in Canada have not spread beyond a specific community where the first cases were identified, but that is always a risk and public awareness is key to identifying and tracing cases as quickly as possible.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2022.
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