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UPDATE: No monkeypox currently in B.C., officials say

The BCCDC said after investigation the ‘possible cases’ were determined not to be monkeypox
This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. On Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Portuguese health authorities confirmed five cases of monkeypox in young men, marking an unusual outbreak in Europe of a disease typically limited to Africa. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP)

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control says that two reported possible cases of monkeypox turned out to be something else.

In a statement, the BCCDC said it conducted interviews with the individuals presumed to have monkeypox. It was determined that they were not considered close contacts of anyone with the disease and therefore had not been exposed.

The news came hours after Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said in a news conference that there were “a couple of contacts” being monitored for the virus in B.C. Tam said there are just under two dozen cases of monkeypox in Canada, most of which are in Quebec. Only two cases have been confirmed so far.

“We expect to hear more confirmations in the upcoming hours and days,” Tam said. “Local authorities are still doing their case contact tracing so we don’t really know the extent to which spread has occurred in Canada. That’s under active investigation.”

Tam added that not many of the individuals are connected to travel to West Africa where the disease is normally present.

Recent outbreaks in Europe and a case reported in the United States have been described as “highly unusual” by scientists.

The samples from any Canadian cases of monkeypox are being sent to the national microbiology laboratory for diagnosis and verification. Tam said work is underway to expand the diagnostic capability to other large provincial labs.

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and blister-like lesions or pustules on the skin.

Monkeypox is generally spread through close contact with an infected person. Monkeypox is known to spread via airborne transmission through viral aerosols that can remain in spaces for hours, as well as skin-to-skin contact.

Anyone who is a close contact of someone confirmed or suspected to have monkeypox should monitor for symptoms for at least 21 days and see a doctor if symptoms progress.

READ MORE: Health officials say ‘strong possibility’ of 17 monkeypox cases in Montreal area

READ MORE: African scientists baffled by monkeypox cases in Europe, US


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