Monkeypox confirmed in person who used Toronto shelter system

One person who recently used Toronto’s shelter system is isolating after testing positive for monkeypox, health officials have confirmed.

In an email to CP24.com, Toronto Public Health (TPH) said they are “currently aware of one confirmed monkeypox case in a person that recently attended a Toronto shelter.”

The health unit declined to say which shelter was involved and also noted that an outbreak is defined as two or more cases that are epidemiologically linked.

As of Sunday evening, the health unit was only aware of a single confirmed case.

The affected individual has been transferred to the city’s COVID-19 isolation and recovery site, which is also being used to help people who need to isolate because of monkeypox.

“The City of Toronto continues to work with health experts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, monkeypox and other transmissible diseases in high risk settings,” TPH said in a statement. “To support shelters in limiting case numbers, the shelter system continues to practice stringent Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) measures. This includes conducting enhanced cleaning protocols and use of personal protective equipment, such as gloves, gowns and protective masks.”

The virus is typically spread through prolonged close contact with respiratory droplets from breathing, talking, coughing or sneezing or skin-to-skin contact with lesions, blisters, rashes or contact with objects, fabrics and surfaces used by someone who has the virus.

The virus can enter the body through breaks in the skin or through the eyes and mouth.

Someone with monkeypox can usually pass on the virus when they develop a skin rash or lesions, but it may also spread when they have early symptoms including fever and headache.

Anyone can get the virus, but most cases so far have been in men who have sex with men.

Federal health officials, as well as the World Health Organization recently suggested that people consider limiting the number of sex partners they have given that the virus appears to be spreading through intimate contact.

The city has been running vaccine clinics for those populations most at risk. 

Public Health Ontario logged 367 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the province as of Thursday, with nearly 78 per cent of those cases in Toronto.

Toronto Public health is advising anyone who thinks they may have monkeypox to isolate right away and contact their health-care provider to get tested.

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