Monkeypox is a viral illness that in the past caused fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes and lethargy, followed by the development of a rash or lesions over a person’s body.  Monkeypox is spread to people through direct contact with the bodily fluids or lesions of infected animals or people, via respiratory droplets from an infected person, or from mother to fetus.  Monkeypox is endemic to parts of Central and West Africa.  

Since May 2022, monkeypox cases have been documented in several non-endemic countries, including Europe, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.  Those who are most at risk are those who have had close physical contact with someone with monkeypox while they are symptomatic.  Many of the cases are identified in men who have sex with men but it is unclear whether it may be sexually transmitted.  The new cases present initially either with the fever and systemic features or with the rash that may be flat, raised, pustular or ulcerative.

Most people infected will recover on their own within two to four weeks. The infection is rarely fatal.  As with many other diseases spread through close contact, people can lower their risk by maintaining physical distance, frequent hand washing and respiratory hygiene, including masking. Common household disinfectants can kill the monkeypox virus.  

If you think you have Monkeypox or you believe you may have been exposed, it is important to isolate right away and contact your primary care provider, sexual health clinic, or public health unit right away.

Getting vaccinated may help to reduce serious symptoms of monkeypox if you get it.  The City of Toronto is holding vaccination clinics over the coming weeks to offer protection to individuals who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, those with high risk contacts and those who have a higher risk of being exposed to the virus.  For a list of clinics, please see:  Monkeypox: What We Know – GMSH

For additional information, please see:

Please note:  information changes quickly; please check these resources regularly for updates.
posted on 6/20/2022

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