Mpox cases on the rise again, OPH warns

Mpox cases in Ontario are on the rise, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is warning local doctors and nurses.The province has reported 26 cases so far in 2024, with OPH noting in its Wednesday statement that four had been confirmed in Ottawa.Mpox is a rare viral disease that is typically endemic in some central and west African countries.But in May 2022, the disease burst onto the global landscape, with cases identified in Canada and other countries where it’s not usually found. The first case in Ottawa was announced the following month.Mpox can be transmitted through sexual contact as well as through cuts, respiratory tracts, and mucous membranes in places like the eyes or mouth. Men who have sex with men are at highest risk, though other groups can be affected as well.Common symptoms include a painful rash, fever and swollen lymph nodes, though symptoms can be more severe.OPH said most cases occur in individuals who have not been vaccinated for mpox or have received only one dose.The province recommends anyone eligible to be vaccinated receive a two-dose series. So far, only 34.5 per cent of Ontarians who got their first dose have received their second.People can book vaccine appointments at the OPH Sexual Health Clinic by phone at (613) 234-4641. The province has asked anyone who suspects they may have mpox to self-isolate and contact a health-care provider.

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