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Health officials continue to monitor monkeypox cases in Europe and North America – CBC News

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The World Health Organization (WHO) does not have evidence that the monkeypox virus has mutated, a senior executive at the United Nations agency said in a briefing on Monday morning, noting the infectious disease that has been endemic in West and Central Africa has tended not to change.

Dr. Rosamund Lewis, head of the smallpox secretariat, which is part of the WHO Emergencies Program, told the briefing that mutations tend to be typically lower with the monkeypox virus, although genome sequencing of cases will help inform understanding of the current outbreak.

Most of the more than 100 suspected and confirmed cases in a recent outbreak in Europe and North America have not been severe, said Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonoses lead, and technical lead on COVID-19.

“This is a containable situation,” she said, particularly in Europe. “But we can’t take our eye off the ball with what’s happening in Africa, in countries where it’s endemic.”

WATCH | WHO officials on monkeypox:

Monkeypox outbreaks a ‘containable situation,’ WHO says

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Duration 0:42

Most monkeypox cases observed in Europe, North America not severe, says the WHO’s Maria Van Kerkhove.

Outbreaks described as atypical

On Monday, Denmark announced its first case, Portugal revised its total upwards to 37, Italy reported one further infection and Britain added 37 more cases.

The outbreaks are atypical, according to the WHO, occurring in countries where the virus does not regularly circulate. Scientists are seeking to understand the origin of the cases and whether anything about the virus has changed. Monkeypox has not previously triggered widespread outbreaks beyond Africa, where it is endemic in animals.

The WHO is asking dermatology and primary health-care clinics, as well as sexual health clinics, to be alert to potential cases. Van Kerkhove said she expected more cases to be identified as surveillance expands.

Dr. David Heymann, a leading adviser to the WHO and former head of the WHO’s emergencies department, told The Associated Press that the unprecedented outbreak of monkeypox in Europe and North America was a “random event.” The leading theory to explain the spread of the disease was sexual transmission at raves held in Spain and Belgium, he said.

In a separate briefing held Monday afternoon by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), health officials said some of the cases being seen in North America, however, predate the events in Europe. They stressed the outbreak is still in its early stages.

U.S. health officials said Monday that they knew of one confirmed case, in the state of Massachusetts, and four probable cases — two in Utah, one in Florida and one in New York City. All were men who had travelled outside the U.S. Many — but not all — of the people who have been diagnosed in the current monkeypox outbreak have been men who had sex with men

“Remember, infectious diseases don’t care about borders or social networks,” said Dr. John Brooks, a medical epidemiologist with the CDC. “Some groups may have a greater chance of exposure right now, but by no means is the current risk of exposure to monkeypox exclusively to the gay and bisexual community in the U.S.”

CDC officials said that the U.S. is in the process of releasing some doses of the Jynneos vaccine for use in monkeypox cases, noting there are more than 1,000 doses in the national stockpile. They also said they expect that level to ramp up very quickly in the coming weeks.

Virus spread through close contact

The virus does not usually spread easily between people, but it can be passed through close person-to-person contact or contact with items used by a person who has monkeypox, such as clothes, bedding or utensils.

“By nature, sexual activity involves intimate contact, which one would expect to increase the likelihood of transmission, whatever a person’s sexual orientation and irrespective of the mode of transmission,” said Dr. Mike Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London. 

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Peel Region reports its first confirmed case of monkeypox – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Peel Region has its first confirmed case of monkeypox.

According to Peel Public Health, the person infected is an adult male in his 30s who lives in Mississauga.

The heath unit said the risk to the public remains low.

Monkeypox, which comes from the same virus family as smallpox, spreads though close contact with an infected individual. Most transmission happens through close contact with the skin lesions of monkeypox, but the virus can also be spread by large droplets or by sharing contaminated items.

To reduce risk of infection, people are advised to be cautious when engaging in intimate activities with others. Vaccination is available for high-risk contacts of cases and for those deemed at high risk of exposure to monkeypox.

Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash/lesions, which could appear on the face or genitals and then spread to other areas.

Anyone who develops these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider and avoid close contact with others until they have improved and rash/lesions have healed.

While most people recover on their own without treatment, those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for monkeypox should self-monitor for symptoms, and contact PPH to see if they are eligible for vaccination.

The Mississauga case is at least the 34th confirmed case of the disease in Ontario, with dozens more under investigation.

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Monkeypox case count rises to more than 3400 globally, WHO says – The Globe and Mail

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More than 3,400 confirmed monkeypox cases and one death were reported to the World Health Organization as of last Wednesday, with a majority of them from Europe, the agency said in an update on Monday.

WHO said that since June 17, 1,310 new cases were reported to the agency, with eight new countries reporting monkeypox cases.

Monkeypox is not yet a global health emergency, WHO ruled last week, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.

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Sudbury news: Northern agencies highlight national HIV testing day | CTV News – CTV News Northern Ontario

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Monday was national HIV testing day. Officials say this year’s theme surrounds how getting tested is an act of self-care.

From clinics to self-testing kits, groups in the north say there are many options to get tested and everyone should use whichever way works best for them.

Just more than a year ago, Reseau Access Network in Sudbury teamed with Ready to Know and Get a Kit, groups that provide HIV self-testing kits at a pickup location.

Officials said it has been a huge success.

“We get a consistent number throughout each month and I can’t really divulge those figures, unfortunately, but as part of the overall study I can tell you the pickup of self-tests is a fraction of the amount of tests being ordered,” said Angel Riess, of Reseau Access Network.

“There’s actually a lot of tests being shipped to homes directly but I can confirm that they have been active and there’s a significant number of people who have chosen to engage in both programs.”

Elsewhere, the Aids Committee of North Bay and Area held a point-of-care testing clinic to mark the day.

“It’s an opportunity for us to remind everyone that getting tested is essential. If you don’t know you have HIV, you can’t take the steps to try to mitigate the possibility of spread,” said executive director Stacey Mayhall.

In addition to stopping the spread, knowing whether you are positive sooner rather than later can allow for a better quality of life.

“HIV is not a death sentence that it used to be,” said Riess.

“There have been advances in testing and medication and people can live long, healthy lives living with HIV.”

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