What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a viral infection most found in Central and West Africa.

Why is monkeypox being talked about?

Since the beginning of May, infections with monkeypox virus have been confirmed in some western countries. The outbreaks are being investigated to find out why the virus was showing up in countries that it normally would not, all at the same time.

How is it transmitted?

A person-to-person transmission can occur through close and prolonged contact with infected respiratory secretions or skin lesions, or with objects (clothes or bed sheets) recently contaminated with fluids or materials from lesions. It can also be transmitted to an unborn child.

Anyone who has close contact with someone who is infectious is at risk.

It is not known to transmit through casual contact, such as going to the store or traveling on a plane.


What are the symptoms?

Signs and symptoms include headache, fever, chills, sore throat, general discomfort, fatigue, muscle and back pain, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes, night sweats, rash, and skin lesions. Many have had oral and genital skin lesions.

Are there any complications?

For most people, the illness is mild and resolves on its own within 2 to 4 weeks. Some people could develop complications such as secondary infections, pneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis, meningitis and eye infections.

Is there treatment?

There are no specific treatments for a monkeypox virus infection. Symptoms of monkeypox usually resolve naturally.

Is there a vaccine available to prevent monkeypox?

A vaccine is available to prevent infection with monkeypox. Smallpox vaccination has been shown to help prevent or weaken the disease. Vaccine effectiveness is estimated at 85%. This vaccine is safe. In the majority of cases, it is very well tolerated and does not cause any side effects.


Who can receive a vaccine for monkeypox?

As the number of available vaccines is relatively limited worldwide now, vaccination efforts prioritize certain groups. 

Although the infection can be contracted by anyone who has close contact with someone who is infectious, monkeypox presently disproportionally affects men who have sex with men and gay, bisexual and trans people. 

So, currently, some groups of people can benefit from vaccinal protection against monkeypox:  

  •  People who were in contact with someone who has monkeypox
  • Men and gay, bisexual, and trans people who have had, or will have, sexual contacts with at least one new male partner

The risk of monkeypox is not limited to people who are sexually active or men who have sex with men. The virus does not discriminate between sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or ethnicity.

How can I receive a vaccine against monkeypox?

If you are eligible for vaccination, call your CLSC/Nursing Station, ask for a Public Health nurse or COVID nurse and ask for a vaccine. It is available in every community. You can see any healthcare provider you trust: services are confidential. 

What should I do if I think I have monkeypox?

If you think you have monkeypox or have symptoms, you should call your CLSC/Nursing Station and ask for an appointment.

Tests are available to confirm. People with monkeypox can prevent transmission to others with basic measures, such as self-isolating, wearing a mask and covering skin lesions until healed.

Anyone with monkeypox symptoms should seek advice from a healthcare provider immediately.

What should I do if I think I have been in contact with someone who has monkeypox?

Asymptomatic contacts may be offered a smallpox vaccine to prevent the disease. They may continue with routine daily activities. Symptom monitoring is recommended for a period of 21 days since the last contact with monkeypox. Contacts who show symptoms should call their CLSC/Nursing Station.

Is Nunavik at risk?

Transmission to large groups in Nunavik is unlikely. Early detection of the presence of monkeypox in a community can help limit the spread in small groups close to the infected person. The NRBHSS is monitoring the outbreak and informing clinics. The situation is not a major concern, but it is a good idea to monitor.