Four new mpox cases detected in Toronto in a single day after months with little to no viral activity
Published Thursday, February 2, 2023 10:18AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 2, 2023 10:21AM EST
Toronto Public Health is reminding residents at risk of catching mpox to get vaccinated “as soon as possible” after four new cases of the viral illness were reported over a 24-hour period last week.
The cluster of new cases reported on Jan. 27 comes after months without any new infections in Toronto.
In fact, the most recent report released by Public Health Ontario showed that there were no new cases of mpox, previously known as monkeypox, reported in the province from the end of October until Dec. 13.
Public Health Ontario has since discontinued regular reporting, citing the “steady decline in mpox cases.”
“After a period of no reported MPOX cases in Ontario, four new cases in a single day is concerning,” Dane Griffiths, director of the Gay Men's Sexual Health Alliance, said in a news release. “Last summer, our community mobilized, got a first vaccine dose, and slowed the spread of MPOX. Let's finish what we started and get the second vaccine dose, especially before travelling this winter.”
Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore previously said that mpox activity peaked in the province in July and had been trending down.
However, it its release Toronto Public Health pointed out that "the virus continues to circulate."
In order to be eligible for vaccination in Ontario, residents must identify as transgender, part of the LGBTQ2S+ community, or as a man who has sex with other men as well as meet certain other criteria.
Toronto Public Health said in a news release that while anyone can get MPOX “gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men have been most affected” during the current outbreak.
The most recent statistics show that all but six of the 691 cases detected in Ontario to date have involved men.
Speaking with CP24 on Thursday morning, infectious disease specialist Dr. Isaac Bogoch said that the recent cluster of cases in Toronto isn’t a major cause for concern but should serve as a reminder that “mxpox hasn’t gone away.”
“We can expect to see occasional cases from time to time and it's notable that there are four cases after such a prolonged period where we had very few cases,” he said. “So it's extremely important that if people were eligible for vaccination that they receive their mpox vaccine and that includes a second dose. There was a lot of uptake on the first doses, but we didn’t get the same degree of uptake on second doses.”
The most commonly reported symptoms following an mpox infection include rash, oral/genital lesions, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fever, chills and fatigue.
So far only 20 cases in Ontario have led to hospitalization. Two of those cases have resulted in individuals requiring treatment in an intensive care unit.