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No monkeypox cases in Sudbury yet, says health unit – CBC.ca

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While there have yet to be any reported cases of monkeypox in the Sudbury region, the health unit says it is working with its partners and the province to prepare for any possible cases.

“Currently what public health has done is that we share monkeypox information with primary care and community health organizations and agencies,” said Jemima Pimou Bogna, a public health nurse with Public Health Sudbury and Districts.

Monkeypox is a viral disease that can lead to rashes and lesions that usually start on the face, and can spread elsewhere on the body. 

“Some other symptoms may include new skin rashes, rash lesions, fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches and pain, or some swollen lymph nodes,” Pimou Bogna said.

She said most monkeypox cases are mild, but someone who is immunocompromised could have more severe symptoms.

As of Friday, Health Canada confirmed there were 168 confirmed cases of monkeypox across the country. The majority – 141 cases – were in Quebec.

Last week Quebec confirmed it had 40,000 vaccine doses available to help slow the spread of the virus.

Montreal’s public health director, Dr. Mylène Drouin, said the city had become the epicentre of the North American outbreak.

Pimou Bogna said the Sudbury health unit does not yet have the vaccine in stock.

But she said Public Health Sudbury and Districts can order the vaccine from Ontario’s Ministry of Health if needed. 

The virus can spread through respiratory droplets between close contacts, but it is less contagious than COVID-19.

Pimou Bogna said anyone who may have been exposed to the virus should maintain physical distancing from others, wear a mask, wash their hands often and monitor themselves for symptoms.

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Monkeypox detected in Norfolk County | TheSpec.com – Hamilton Spectator

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The monkeypox virus has found its way to Norfolk County.

The health unit announced on Friday that a Norfolk resident has tested positive and is currently isolating at home.

Contacts of the infected resident have been notified, according to a media release from the health unit.

“There is no increased risk of monkeypox to the general public stemming from this case,” acting medical officer of health Dr. Matt Strauss said in the release.

“Outside of an emergency situation, if you have symptoms of monkeypox, it is important to stay home and call your doctor to be assessed. When seeking medical care, you should wear a high-quality medical mask and cover up all lesions and open sores.”

Monkeypox is spread by direct physical contact, most often by touching a rash on an infected person’s skin but sometimes through “respiratory secretions” if in close proximity for a prolonged period, the health unit said.

“Most people infected with monkeypox will have mild symptoms and recover on their own without treatment,” said the release.

Symptoms lasting between two and four weeks can include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, low energy, muscle aches, skin rash or lesions, sometimes starting on the face or genitals and spreading elsewhere.

The health unit says symptoms usually start between six and 13 days of exposure to the virus.

The Halton region recorded its first confirmed case of monkeypox earlier this month.

Close contacts of monkeypox patients are eligible to receive the smallpox vaccine, which also provides protection against monkeypox.

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Mass vaccination campaign against Monkeypox needed, experts say – Global News

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As the World Health Organization calculates whether to declare monkeypox a global health emergency, infectious disease experts are urging health officials to be more proactive and start ramping up vaccinations and surveillance — especially in African nations where the virus is most prevalent.

The WHO convened its emergency committee Thursday to consider whether the spiralling outbreak of monkeypox should be declared a “public health emergency of international concern,” the WHO’s highest level of alert.

But the United Nations agency is facing criticism over its treatment of monkeypox — jumping into action only after the disease started to spread in rich western nations.

Read more:

WHO to discuss declaring monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency

The viral disease that causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions is endemic in parts of Africa, which means it is consistently present in certain regions. The continent has registered just over 1,500 suspected cases since the start of 2022, of which 70 have been fatal, according to the WHO.

By comparison, Canada has confirmed over 200 cases, the majority of which are in Quebec, and has had no deaths.

“There are more cases that occur in Africa on a yearly basis than have already been reported outside of Africa right now. And there are more deaths that have occurred in Africa from monkeypox than have occurred in the rest of the world,” said Dr. Sameer Elsayed, an infectious disease physician and professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Western University.

Read more:

Monkeypox in Canada: 211 confirmed cases reported across the country

That’s why he believes Africa should be getting the lion’s share of resources to deal with monkeypox — and that should include mass vaccinations, he says.

“I think Africa needs to be looked at with high, high priority,” he said.

“It needs to be a mass vaccination campaign for monkeypox with the newer vaccines for people in the African continent, especially in the high endemic areas.”

He’s not alone.

Dr. Monica Gandhi, a physician and infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco, says she also believes more people living in regions where monkeypox is more prevalent should be vaccinated.

“That will actually stop it in endemic regions in this non-endemic outbreak.”

That the WHO is only now taking monkeypox seriously is “profoundly problematic,” Gandhi says, given that the disease has been spreading and killing people in Central and West Africa for years.


Click to play video: 'Monkeypox has about half of Canadians worried, but most confident with health response: poll'



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Monkeypox has about half of Canadians worried, but most confident with health response: poll


Monkeypox has about half of Canadians worried, but most confident with health response: poll – Jun 17, 2022

“It’s been circulating since 1958. There are increasing outbreaks — a severe one in Nigeria, for example in 2017 — and it’s only really essentially when this has affected high-income countries that the WHO is jumping on it.”

Experts who have worked on monkeypox in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo have long taken note of rising cases while population immunity to pox viruses has been decreasing, due to lack of vaccination. This is why the world shouldn’t be surprised at the current outbreaks, said Anne Rimoin, an epidemiology professor at UCLA in California, who has studied monkeypox for two decades.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how quickly a deadly virus can spread across the globe when the right conditions are present, so health officials ought to learn from this and start being more proactive, she said.

“When it comes to infectious diseases, in particular those viruses that have the potential for global spread, it’s much easier to stay out of trouble than it is to have to get out of trouble.”

In addition to providing vaccines, health officials should also be ramping up resources to study this disease and do more surveillance to get a better understanding of monkeypox and learn why it is spreading in new and unusual ways, Rimoin said.

Read more:

Monkeypox outbreak: Case count rises to more than 3,200 globally, says WHO

“We’ve given this virus a lot of runway to be able to spread. We have not been looking for it as vigilantly as we should be,” she said.

“I think we have to learn the lessons that we’ve learned with COVID-19 and that it is much better to invest ahead of time to get in front of these viruses, to do the kind of surveillance it’s necessary to be regularly updating our knowledge about viruses.”

Good disease surveillance is just as important in poorer countries as it is in “high-resource settings,” she added.

Like many countries around the world, Canada and the United States stopped vaccinating the general population against smallpox by around 1972, which means many on this continent are highly susceptible to pox viruses like monkeypox.

Given that scientists expect to see more emerging infectious diseases due to factors such as climate change, deforestation and globalization, the world should start getting better prepared for new outbreaks, Elsayed said.

Read more:

Monkeypox has Canadian researchers scrambling. Why, and how contagious is it?

This is why, in addition to calling for vaccinations and more resources to fight monkeypox in Africa, Elsayed believes governments in developed nations should also consider more options to protect citizens from pox viruses, including possibly re-introducing mass smallpox vaccinations.

“I believe that these vaccines should come on board again for the general population … but not (just) for monkeypox, but also to protect the world against perhaps a smallpox pandemic that can happen in the future, or even another virus that’s closely related to monkeypox but hasn’t reached humans,” Elsayed said.

He stressed this should only be considered after addressing the more pressing needs in Africa first.


Click to play video: 'WHO looks into reports of traces of monkeypox found in semen'



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WHO looks into reports of traces of monkeypox found in semen


WHO looks into reports of traces of monkeypox found in semen – Jun 15, 2022

Rimoin noted that when the world stopped vaccinating against smallpox, it opened a “gap of immunity” for populations to once again be vulnerable to it. And with the emergence of a number of new pox viruses in different parts of the globe, including mousepox, cowpox and camelpox, the world is not immune to new outbreaks, she said.

“We now have to really think about, How important is it for us to be able to keep pox viruses out of the population?” she said. “What are the stakes of allowing this virus to spread? And then acting accordingly.”

-With files from Global News reporter Reggie Checcini and Reuters.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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New Brunswick prepares for COVID-19 vaccine rollout for children under 5 – CBC.ca

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New Brunswick will be ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines to children under five as soon as they’re approved and available, according to the chief medical officer of health.

The province is also working on an early flu vaccination campaign in anticipation of “a higher than normal” influenza season this year, said Dr. Jennifer Russell.

In the U.S., immunization of infants and preschoolers against COVID-19 began this week after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized emergency use of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines in children as young as six months old last Friday, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended use of the vaccines in this age group the following day.

No COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children under five in Canada yet. Health Canada is reviewing an application from Moderna.

“We are waiting for Health Canada as well as NACI [National Advisory Committee on Immunization] to come forth with their recommendations,” said Russell.

The province is “watching very closely,” she said, and is “ready to act on those when they come through.”

Russell could not estimate when that might be.

“But we are preparing ahead of time for that inevitability.”

No details yet

Planning for the rollout is underway, said Department of Health spokesperson Michelle Guenard.

The department is working with its primary care partners, including the regional health authorities, community pharmacies and the New Brunswick Medical Society, she said.

No other details, such as where the shots will be available or who will administer them, are available yet.

“Final decisions will be made after Health Canada has given approval to the vaccine,” Guenard said in an emailed statement. “This includes reviewing a statement from NACI and local considerations.”

“Guidance will be provided to those identified to be immunizers for the under-five vaccinations,” she added. “This includes sharing information from Health Canada, the vaccine supplier, NACI and guidance from New Brunswick Public Health.”

‘Very encouraging’

Russell called the U.S. approval “very encouraging.”

“I think whatever protections we can provide to the population as a whole is very important,” she said. “This is one of the last pieces, really, that we’ve been waiting for.”

The under-five age group is the only one in the province that doesn’t currently have COVID-19 vaccines available to them.

Children aged five to 11 have been able to get a shot since November.

Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said with COVID-19 vaccines already available to New Brunswickers aged five and older, the pending approval for those under five is ‘one of the last pieces’ the province has been waiting for. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

“As we have seen with older age groups, we expect that the vaccines for younger children will provide protection from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19, such as hospitalization and death,” FDA commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf said in a statement.

“Those trusted with the care of children can have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of these COVID-19 vaccines and can be assured that the agency was thorough in its evaluation of the data,” he said.

The FDA found the known and potential benefits of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines “outweigh the known and potential risks in the pediatric populations.”

According to the clinical trial data, the most commonly reported side effects in children aged six months to five years old included pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, fever and underarm (or groin) swelling/tenderness of lymph nodes in the same arm (or thigh) as the injection.

Spike in flu cases

A total of 52.7 per cent of eligible New Brunswickers have received a COVID-19 booster shot, as of this week’s COVIDWatch report, 88.1 per cent have received two doses and 93.3 per cent have received one dose.

The province wants to have as many people protected as possible going into the fall, said Russell.

The “pattern of the pandemic” has been that the risks tend to decrease in the summer when people are outside more, physically distancing, and increase in the fall and winter, she said.

“I think that correlation is holding true at the moment but you know we try to be prepared for whatever comes our way with COVID because there aren’t any guarantees.

“We are aware that we’re expecting a higher than normal flu season this year and so we will be pushing our vaccination campaigns early.”

The red line indicates the growth in the percentage of positive influenza tests in New Brunswick. Yellow represents the Influenza A (H3)cases, while green illustrates Influenza A (unsubtyped). (Government of New Brunswick)

New Brunswick is dealing with an unusually late flu season, due in part to the lifting of COVID-19 protective measures in March, such as masking.

Normally, the flu season really starts to “take off” in January and “peters out” once the warmer weather begins, the province’s acting deputy chief medical officer of health Dr. Yves Léger has said.

But nearly a quarter of this season’s cases occurred in one week this month.

Seventy-three positive influenza cases were reported in week 23, which ended June 11, the most recent statistics available from Public Health show. Six of the cases required hospitalization.

Two new influenza outbreaks were reported in nursing homes and one new influenza-like illness outbreak was reported in a school, the influenza surveillance report shows.

A total of 302 cases have been reported so far this season, which began Aug. 29, 2021 and continues until Aug. 27. That’s up from 40 just a month ago.

There have been 60 hospitalizations and four deaths.

‘Double’ risk

If the risks for COVID-19 transmission increase in the fall at the same time the risks for the flu are expected to rise, “then we’ve got, you know, a double kind of risk happening,” said Russell.

“So we want to address that early and making sure that everybody who’s eligible for flu vaccination gets vaccinated as well.”

The province is also “really keen” to have people who fell behind with their routine vaccinations to get caught up on those, she said.

“We wouldn’t want to see a resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases.”

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