Hours after the country’s top doctor suggested there may be ‘a few’ cases of monkeypox in British Columbia, provincial officials say those people have been determined not to have the disease .
The BC Center for Disease Control said Friday afternoon that there were two reported cases that may have been the disease, but public health officials have interviewed those people.
It was determined that they were not considered known case contacts and were not exposed.
“There are no suspect cases or contacts of monkeypox currently under investigation in British Columbia,” the BCCDC said in a statement.
“British Columbia continues to work closely with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Public Health will follow up on anyone suspected of being exposed to monkeypox.”
The news came hours after Canada’s top doctor, Dr Theresa Tam, told a news conference that officials were investigating what could be the disease in a few people living in the province.
“Right now, I would say just under 20 people under investigation by local authorities, mainly in Quebec, but a few contacts are also being followed in British Columbia, but only two confirmed cases (in the country)”, she said.
“There are samples being processed at the National Microbiology Laboratory as we speak, so we can expect to hear more confirmations in the hours and days to come.”
She said local authorities are doing contact tracing, so at this time they don’t know the extent of the spread in Canada.
“So far we know few of these people are connected to travel to Africa, where the disease is normally seen. So that’s unusual,” she said.
WHAT IS MONKEYPOX?
Monkeypox was discovered in the late 1950s and is a disease caused by a virus similar to that which causes smallpox.
Symptoms are also similar, including fever, chills, exhaustion, and headache, muscle, and back pain. Unlike smallpox, it can also cause swollen lymph nodes and is considered more benign.
Later, those who have been infected have a rash and fluid-filled bumps. These bumps turn into scabs over time and fall off.
Anyone who has developed signs or symptoms, including these blisters, should seek advice from their doctor.
The name comes from its discovery – it was first found in colonies of monkeys which were used for research.
A number of countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, are experiencing an outbreak of the disease, which is most common in central and western Africa.
“It is unusual for the world to see so many cases reported in different countries outside of Africa,” Tam said on Friday.
Health officials say the virus is transmitted through close contact with an infected person, and while it’s usually transmitted through large respiratory droplets, Tam said Friday it can even be transmitted through contaminated clothing.
Read more about his story on CTVNews.ca.
With files from Alyse Kotyk of CTV News Vancouver and Solarina Ho of CTV News
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