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Monkeypox: Canada confirms first two cases; Australia reports probable case

Monkeypox, which mostly occurs in west and central Africa, is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, though milder.

People walk past a sign at the entrance to Massachusetts General Hospital, where a patient is being treated for monkeypox, in Boston, Massachusetts, US, May 19, 2022. (Reuters)

Canada’s public health agency Thursday confirmed the first two cases of monkeypox virus infections in the country after authorities in Quebec province said they were investigating 17 suspected cases. Meanwhile, Australian authorities on Friday said they had identified a probable case of monkeypox in a recently returned traveller to Europe, with confirmatory testing underway.

A man in his 40s developed a mild illness several days after arriving back in Sydney with symptoms clinically compatible with monkeypox, New South Wales state health department said. The man and a household contact are isolating at home, it said in a statement.

Several countries including Portugal and Spain have reported cases of monkeypox in recent weeks, with a US case identified by Massachusetts public health officials on Wednesday in a man who had recently travelled to the Canadian province of Quebec.

“Tonight, the Province of Quebec was notified that two samples received by the NML (National Microbiology Laboratory) have tested positive for monkeypox. These are the first two cases confirmed in Canada,” the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said in a statement, adding Canada had never before seen monkeypox cases.

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Monkeypox, which mostly occurs in west and central Africa, is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, though milder. It was first recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s. The number of cases in West Africa has increased in the last decade.

Symptoms include fever, headaches and skin rashes starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body.

Health officials in Montreal, Quebec’s largest city, told reporters earlier on Thursday that there was a link between the US case of monkeypox in Massachusetts and a few of the suspected cases in the Montreal region.


PHAC said the US citizen who had recently travelled to Canada from the US by private transportation “may have been infected before or during” his visit to Montreal.

First published on: 20-05-2022 at 08:05:00 am
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