Health officials in Canada are investigating more than a dozen cases of suspected monkeypox in the country, after the U.S. and European health authorities confirmed rising cases of the rare infectious disease.
Health officials in Canada are investigating more than a dozen cases of suspected monkeypox in the country, after the U.S. and European health authorities confirmed rising cases of the rare infectious disease. This has triggered concerns about the global spread of the infection which has its origins in Africa.
Radio-Canada reported on Wednesday that Montreal public health officials are investigating at least 13 cases flagged by doctors in the city, following diagnoses made in three clinics specializing in sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections.
The Massachusetts Department of Health, said that the case there — the first confirmed this year in the United States — occurred in a patient who had recently travelled to Canada and "poses no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalized and in good condition."
Britain reported its first case of monkeypox on May 7 and has found another eight since then, while Portuguese health officials confirmed five cases on Wednesday and Spain is investigating more than 20 possible infections.
"This, once again, highlights the threat of viruses like this," Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious diseases epidemiologist and technical lead on COVID-19 and emerging diseases with the WHO, said during a press conference this week.
"We really need to better understand the extent of monkeypox in endemic countries like in DRC and in Nigeria, Central African Republic and others to really understand how much is circulating and the risk that it poses for people who are living there — as well as the risk of exportation."
The illness often starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle ache and swollen lymph nodes before causing a chickenpox-like rash on the face and body, the US agency explained.
The first case in Britain was someone who had travelled from Nigeria, though later cases were possibly through community transmission, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said in a statement.
"These latest cases, together with reports of cases in countries across Europe, confirms our initial concerns that there could be spread of monkeypox within our communities," said UKHSA Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Susan Hopkins.
Also read: Monkeypox cases confirmed in England – What are the symptoms?