A call to action has been issued by the WHO in regards to monkeypox.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared monkeypox a global health emergency as case numbers continue to rise globally. Currently, there has been a spike in cases in Ontario, mainly in the Toronto area.  

At this time, the Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) says there are no cases in the region, however, they are preparing for the possibility.  

According to the NWHU, the most common symptoms of monkeypox are a rash with blisters, fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and swollen lymph nodes. Monkeypox spreads through close physical contact with someone who has symptoms.  

The Health Unit notes that at this time, most cases have been seen in males who reported having sexual or intimate contact with new and/or more than one partner, however, as the number of cases globally increases, it is important that everyone is aware of the risk.  

Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection, it is a human contact infection, so all people are potentially at risk. 

The NWHU recommends being safe by limiting contact with symptomatic people or people with a suspected/confirmed monkeypox diagnosis.  

The NWHU is recommending the following prevention measures: 

  • Isolating and contacting a health care provider if you have symptoms 

  • Wearing a mask if you have symptoms and must be around others 

  • Avoiding skin-to-skin, face-to-face, and sexual contact with anyone who has symptoms 

  • Avoid sharing clothing, bedding, towels, cups or utensils 

  • Covering any sores 

“It is important that anyone who thinks they may have monkeypox connects with a health care provider right away; this disease can be controlled when care is given early,” says Dr. Kit Young Hoon, Medical Officer of Health at NWHU. 

NWHU continues to monitor the data and has sent resources about the virus to health care providers and partners, including a handout for patients/clients who may be more likely to be at risk for monkeypox. 

For more information on the virus, please visit the following web pages: 

The Government of Canada

Public Health Ontario

Gay Men's Sexual Health Alliance