Despite outbreaks of monkeypox appearing across the country, there are still no confirmed cases of the virus in the NWT, according to a spokesperson with the Department of Health and Social Services (HSS).
As of Aug. 19, the most recent date for which Health Canada data is available, there were confirmed monkeypox cases in seven jurisdictions, totalling nearly 1,200 confirmed cases: Yukon, B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. This includes 119 cases in B.C., 571 in Ontario, and 453 in Quebec.
HSS spokesperson Andrew Wind confirmed on Aug. 22 that no cases of monkeypox had been detected in the NWT.
As of July 29, about 14,500 vaccine doses had been sent to B.C. As of July 28, Quebec had received 40,000 doses. Although it wasn’t immediately clear how much had been sent to Ontario, on Aug. 8 the province’s chief public health officer, Kieran Moore, said more than 20,000 Ontarians had already been vaccinated against the virus.
Because of this lack of confirmed cases, the NWT has been allocated fewer monkeypox vaccine doses than some of its neighbours. Wind said the territory has been granted 140 doses of the Imvamune vaccine.
“We initially received vaccine allocation based on population census as this is how the vaccine was allocated equitably across all jurisdictions,” he said. “Provinces and territories who are experiencing outbreaks of monkey pox are now being allocated more in order to control the outbreak.”
The first detected cases of the current monkeypox outbreak were identified in the United Kingdom, with the first confirmed case on May 7 being an individual who had travelled to Nigeria, according to the World Health Organization. A rash is usually the defining symptom, with other symptoms including fever, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion. The virus is only fatal in about one to three per cent of untreated cases.
Monkeypox can spread through contact with an infected person’s lesions or scabs, and it’s also possible for the virus to spread from contact with an infected individual’s bodily fluids, such as blood, saliva, and semen, according to the Government of Canada.
So far, 30 people have been hospitalized by the virus nationwide, although no one has died.