Ontario weighs declaring monkeypox outbreak over, Moore says


TORONTO – Ontario is “actively looking” at whether it can declare the monkeypox outbreak officially over, the province’s top doctor says.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore said in an interview that there haven’t been any significant increases in the past few weeks, just intermittent cases. Last month he said the number of active case in the province had peaked in mid-July.

Moore said he is now watching for a few more incubation periods – which can be up to 21 days but is usually seven to 14 days – to see if the low-risk pattern continues.

Meanwhile, public health units in Ontario have started rolling out second doses of monkeypox vaccines for those the province has deemed at high risk of contracting the disease.

According to Public Health Ontario’s latest report, up to Oct. 4, there have been 674 confirmed cases in the province to date, most of them in Toronto.

Monkeypox spreads when people have close, physical contact with an infected person’s lesions, their clothing or bedsheets, and symptoms can include rash, swollen lymph nodes and fever.

Public Health Ontario has said that most cases are among men who report intimate contact with men, but it said anyone can get monkeypox.

The monkeypox disease comes from the same family of viruses that cause smallpox, which the World Health Organization declared eradicated around the globe in 1980. Smallpox vaccines have proven effective in combating the monkeypox virus.