File Photo of the Middlesex-London Health UnitFile Photo of the Middlesex-London Health Unit

MLHU reporting region's first case of monkeypox

Nearly a month after the first monkeypox cases were reported in Canada, the Middlesex-London Health Unit says the illness has arrived in our region.

In a news release that was sent to the media on Monday afternoon, the health unit says one person, who is said to be doing well, has the virus.

"While we are reporting this first local case of monkeypox, the risk to the community remains very low,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Alex Summers.

Health Unit staff say the person diagnosed "has no close contacts who require post-exposure prophylaxis for monkeypox or additional follow-up from public health."

According to the Health Unit, monkeypox is "a viral illness, which is endemic in parts of central and western Africa. It can be spread to people through direct contact with the bodily fluids or lesions of infected people or animals, as well as from contaminated clothing or bedding and through respiratory droplets following prolonged exposure to an infected person."

"The nature of how monkeypox transmits means that I am confident in our ability to do case investigation and identify associated contacts and insure that cases the risk is contained," Summers said at a media briefing on Monday. "In this instance, that's the case."

Symptoms to watch out for include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and lethargy, followed by a rash.

Doctors say that while there is no specific treatment for monkeypox, vaccination and anti-virals for smallpox appears to provide some cross protection.

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