Monkeypox is a rare viral illness that causes fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes and lethargy, followed by the development of a rash over a person’s body (see Monkeypox Fact Sheet for more). Anyone with close personal contact with a person with monkeypox could be at risk. Most people recover on their own without treatment within a few weeks. However, some cases may be serious.
How monkeypox spreads
Monkeypox can spread from person-to-person through close contact including sexual contact, with an infected person’s skin, bodily fluids, mucosal surfaces (including eyes, nose and mouth), and contaminated objects, such as sex toys, or shared personal items, such as clothing, linens, bedding, towels, toothbrushes, and utensils.
Anyone can get infected and spread monkeypox if they come into close contact with someone who has the virus, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and race.
While most cases reported in Canada in this outbreak are currently among gay and bisexual men, monkeypox is not exclusive to any group or setting. When it comes to talking about any infectious disease, stigmatization can lead to a misunderstanding of risks and negative health outcomes.
Symptoms and exposure
- If you think you have monkeypox and have symptoms, self-isolate and contact a healthcare provider right away.
- If you have had contact with a known or suspected case of monkeypox, contact WDG Public Health at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006.
Vaccine and eligibility
Updated October 17, 2022
Imvamune® vaccine is approved in Canada for protection against smallpox, monkeypox and other orthopoxvirus-related illnesses. The vaccine contains weakened virus and cannot make you sick. Based on Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines, the vaccine is for eligible people as a two-dose series, with at least 28 days between first and second doses.
A vaccine is available for individuals with high-risk exposures or within a setting or community where transmission is happening. WDG Public Health continues to follow federal and provincial guidance on the administration of Imvamune® vaccine to protect at-risk populations against the monkeypox virus. Based on Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines, eligibility includes:
- Two-spirited, non-binary, trans- or cis-gender individuals who self-identify or have sexual partners who self-identify as belonging to the gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) community AND at least one of the following:
- Have received a diagnosis of bacterial STI (i.e., chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) in the past 2 months;
- Have had 2 or more sexual partners recently or may be planning to;
- Have attended venues for sexual contact (i.e., bath houses, sex clubs) recently or may be planning to, or who work/volunteer in these settings; or
- Have had anonymous sex (e.g., using hookup apps) recently or may be planning to; and/or
- Are a sexual contact of an individual who engages in sex work.
- Any individual who engages in sex work or may be planning to.
- Household and/or sexual contacts of those identified for pre-exposure (PrEP) eligibility in parts (1) and (2) above AND are moderately to severely immunocompromised or pregnant may be at higher risk for severe illness from a monkeypox infection may be considered for PrEP and should contact their healthcare provider (or WDGPH) for more information.
Booking an appointment
To book an appointment to get vaccinated or to inquire about eligibility, please contact our Client and Community Call Centre at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006.
You can contact our Client and Community Support Call Centre at 1-800-265-7293 ext. 7006 if you have questions about monkeypox, or visit:
If you’re in crisis, or need urgent medical support, call 911.
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