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First case of monkeypox confirmed in Waterloo Region

In a man who's in his 30s
Region of Waterloo Public Health 1
File photo of main office of Region of Waterloo Public Health

Region of Waterloo Public Health has confirmed the first local monkeypox case.

A man in his 30s came down with the virus.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Julie Emili said the case is currently isolating at home. 

"We've identified all the high-risk contacts and they have been referred to other health units, because they do not live or reside in Waterloo Region."

Dr. Emili said public health had already been preparing for the arrival of monkeypox in our community, before the case was detected. 

"We have been watching what has been happening across the province and have been prepared for our first case," explained Dr. Emili. "We are working with our health care providers to make sure that they're prepared to deal with these cases, and then of course we'll work with individual cases and contacts to make sure that they are isolating and know what to do should they have symptoms."

She stressed the overall risk of monkeypox to the general community is considered low. 

"Monkeypox is not easily spread between individuals. It's spread between very close and intimate contacts. Those who have close contact with monkeypox cases have the highest risk."

As for symptoms, Dr. Emili said the beginning stage of a monkeypox infection is like a typical virus. 

"You could have fever, some fatigue, feeling unwell, and some swollen glands," explained Dr. Emili. "What is characteristic of monkeypox, is when the rash starts -- which is quite quickly."

The recommendation for everyone is to stay home if you're feeling sick, and if you develop a rash, seek medical attention. 

Dr. Emili noted public health is taking the situation seriously and taking action to make sure there's no further spread.

"We are working with health care providers to make sure they are on the alert, and we also will be hosting vaccine clinics for individuals who are at high-risk of monkeypox to prevent them getting it, should they be exposed."

She said more details on the vaccination initiative will be released in the coming days on public health's website. Preparations are being finalized, but Dr. Emili expects clinics may be available in the next week or so. 

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