(CDC)

Monkeypox has made its way to BC.

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) announced the province’s first case on Monday, June 6th, saying a Vancouver resident tested positive for the virus.

According to the BCCDC, the case was confirmed via laboratory testing, with Vancouver Coastal Health now conducting public health follow-up. 

It says more than 700 cases of monkeypox infection have been found in non-endemic countries since May, with the majority identified in Europe.

“While most, but not all, recent global infections are among young men who identify as men who have sex with other men, the virus can affect anyone through close person-to-person contact,” the BCCDC said.

On May 20th, the BCCDC said an investigation was underway after two reported cases of monkeypox in BC.

However, after being interviewed, it was determined the individuals were “not considered contacts of cases as they had not been exposed.”

Risk to general public is ‘very low’

First discovered in 1958, BC health officials say monkeypox spreads through contact with sores, including items like bedding or towels that have the virus on them.

It can also spread through respiratory droplets, such as coughs and sneezes, during prolonged face-to-face contact with an infected person.

While a vaccine against monkeypox is available in Canada to manage its spread and prevent serious illness, the BCCDC says it doesn’t benefit those already infected.

But the virus’ risk to the general public is “very low,” meaning there’s no need for the general public to get vaccinated, according to officials.

Still, the BCCDC urges people who have been exposed to monitor for symptoms, which can present from 5 to 21 days after exposure.

“If you develop symptoms, visit a health care professional,” it added. 

“Wear a mask and cover the lesions, and inform the clinic ahead of time of the reason for your visit. Limit close contact, including sexual contact with others.”

More information about monkeypox, including symptoms, can be found online here.

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