Monkeypox: Indicators point to slowing spread


Emilie Bergeron, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Federal health officials have seen signs that the spread of monkeypox may be slowing, but it’s too early to say there’s a leveling off, the chief administrator of the Public Health Agency said Friday. of Canada (PHAC), Dr. Theresa Tam.

“Cases are not increasing at the same rate they were increasing at the start of the outbreak,” she said during a virtual press briefing.

Dr. Tam added, however, that this trend still needs to be monitored over the next few weeks to definitively decide on a stabilization.

PHAC Deputy Administrator Dr. Howard Njoo noted that it is taking longer than before for the number of monkeypox cases to double in the country.

“At the beginning, (according to) the experience in the two biggest provinces, it was maybe in less than two weeks. It took something like 11 or 12 days. Now we have (some indicators) that maybe the period would be more than 16 to 17 days,” he explained.

According to the most recent data provided during Friday’s press briefing, 1,059 people have contracted the disease to date in Canada, including 426 in Quebec and 511 in Ontario.

A first dose of vaccine against the disease is offered to people considered to be at higher risk of contracting monkeypox. Anyone can be infected, but 99% of cases have been in men and the virus is circulating mostly in men who have sex with men, PHAC said.

Ottawa has distributed more than 90,000 doses of vaccine so far to provinces and territories that have administered more than 50,000.

Dr. Tam also said that sewage testing, which has been used to measure the spread of COVID-19, could also be used in the surveillance of monkeypox cases.

« The national microbiology laboratory has found a fairly promising approach through the methodologies, » she said, adding that this issue is currently under discussion.

« It’s a pretty complicated methodology, but I think we’ve come up with something that can probably be used more broadly, » she continued.

The federal government also announced Friday that it is providing $550,000 in funding to community organizations in Vancouver and Edmonton to help them fight the spread of monkeypox.

One of the recipient organizations, the Community Research Centre, is responsible for coordinating a pan-Canadian initiative bringing together various organizations providing health services to gay and bisexual men.

Last month, Ottawa announced financial assistance to other organizations like RÉZO, based in Montreal.


Back to top button