What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a viral infection most commonly found in Central and West Africa. The precise origin of monkeypox remains unknown, however, African rodents and non-human primates (e.g. monkeys) may harbour the virus and infect people.
Why are we talking about monkeypox?
Since the beginning of May 2022, infections have been confirmed in the UK, Portugal, Sweden, USA and Canada (Montreal). Experts are investigating to find out why the outbreak was detected in so many countries at the same time.
How is it transmitted?
A person-to-person transmission can occur through close, prolonged contact with infected respiratory secretions, skin lesions or with objects (e.g. clothes or bed sheets) recently contaminated with fluids from an infected person. It can also be transmitted by the mother to the unborn child during pregnancy.
It is not known to transmit through casual contact, such as going to the store or while traveling on a plane with someone.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include headache, fever, chills, sore throat, general discomfort, fatigue, muscle and back pain, joint pain, swollen glands, rash, and skin lesions. Many have had oral and genital skin lesions.
Are there any complications?
For most people, the illness will be mild and will resolve on its own within 2 to 4 weeks. Some may develop complications such as pneumonia, sepsis, encephalitis and eye infections.
Is there a treatment?
There are no specific treatments for a monkeypox virus infection. Symptoms of monkeypox usually resolve naturally.
Smallpox vaccination has been shown to help prevent or weaken the disease. Vaccination must be administrated within 4 days of the last contact with an infected person.
What should I do if I think I have monkeypox?
If you think you have or have had symptoms similar to monkeypox, you should call your CLSC/Nursing Station to schedule an appointment.
Tests are available and early detection will help prevent spreading to close contacts. People who have monkeypox can prevent transmission to others with basic measures such as self-isolating, wearing a mask and covering skin lesions until resolved.
What should I do if I think I have been in contact with someone who has monkeypox?
Contact with a case of monkeypox with symptom-free contacts may be offered a pox 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 the CLSC.
Is Nunavik at risk?
Transmission to large groups in Nunavik is highly unlikely. However, the Regional Board and Health Centres are monitoring the situation closely and keeping clinics informed. Early detection of the presence of monkeypox in a community can help limit the spread of the virus.