Monkeypox

Monkeypox is a rare viral illness that causes fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes and lethargy, followed by the development of a rash over a person’s body. Anyone with close personal contact with a person with monkeypox could be at risk. Most people recover on their own without treatment within a few weeks. However, some cases may be serious.

Spread, Exposure, Clinics and Vaccines

How it Spreads

Monkeypox can spread from person-to-person through close contact including sexual contact, with an infected person’s skin, bodily fluids, mucosal surfaces (including eyes, nose and mouth), and contaminated objects, such as sex toys, or shared personal items, such as clothing, linens, bedding, towels, toothbrushes, and utensils.

Anyone can get infected and spread monkeypox if they come into close contact with someone who has the virus, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and race.

Prevent the Spread

Following basic public health measures can help prevent the spread of monkeypox. This includes:

• practicing proper respiratory etiquette
• practicing proper hand hygiene
• staying home when you are sick or have skin sores

It is important to note that monkeypox is most infectious before skin lesions appear. If you know you have had contact or suspected contact and are feeling unwell, stay home and isolate, See below for more. 

Symptoms to look out for

See the full list of symptoms here.

If you think you have monkeypox and have symptoms, self-isolate and contact a healthcare provider right away.

What to do in case of contact/exposure

If you have had contact with a known or suspected case of monkeypox, contact Lambton Public Health at 519-383-8331 ext 3537.

Monkeypox vaccine

Imvamune® vaccine is approved in Canada for protection against monkeypox and is offered as a two-dose (0.5ml per dose) primary series with at least 28 days between first and second doses for individuals currently eligible for pre-exposure or post-exposure vaccination.

The vaccine can be used for protection against monkeypox before getting exposed to the virus (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis – PrEP) or after being exposed (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis – PEP). It is not used as a treatment if you already have monkeypox. At this time, people who have or have had monkeypox are not eligible for the vaccine.

Eligibility for pre-exposure vaccination (PrEP)

While anyone can get monkeypox, during the current outbreak, gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men have been impacted the most. Lambton Public Health continues to follow federal and provincial guidance on the administration of Imvamune vaccines to protect at-risk populations.

Based on the Ontario Ministry of Health’s guidelines, individuals must meet the criteria below to be eligible for a pre-exposure monkeypox vaccine.

a) Any man or Two-Spirit-identifying individual who has sex with another person who identifies as a man, including but not limited to: individuals who self­identify as trans-gender, cis-gender, two spirit. gender-queer, intersex, and non-binary who also identify as gay, bisexual. or pansexual or who self­identify as belonging to gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) community AND at least one of the following:

• Had a confirmed sexually transmitted infection within the last year
• Have or are planning to have two or more sexual partners or are in a relationship where at least one of the partners has other sexual partners.
• Have attended venues for sexual contact (i.e., bath houses, sex clubs) recently or may be planning to, or who work/volunteer in these settings; or
• Have had anonymous sex (e.g., using hookup apps) recently or may be planning to; and/or
• Are a sexual contact of an individual who engages in sex work.

b) Individuals who self-identify as engaging in sex work or are planning to, regardless of self-identified sex or gender

c)Household and/ or sexual contacts of those identified for pre-exposure vaccination eligibility in parts (a) and (b) above AND who are moderately to severely immunocompromised or pregnant may be at higher risk for severe illness from a monkeypox infection may be considered for pre-exposure vaccine and should contact their healthcare provider for more information.

Receiving other vaccines before and after monkeypox vaccine

To minimize potential risk of interactions, it is recommended to receive the monkeypox vaccine two weeks before or after receiving killed vaccines and/or four weeks before or after receiving live vaccines.

If you have received a vaccine within the above time frames, contact your health care provider to discuss further.

If you are immunocompromised or on immunosuppressive therapies (this includes HIV positive with a CD4 count of less than 100) please speak with your health care provider to see if the vaccine is right for you.

Pre-exposure Vaccine Clinics

Walk-ins are not available.

If you meet provincial eligibility, please contact our call center at 226-254-8222 to be added to a sign-up list. Those on the sign-up list will be contacted with a vaccination appointment once the clinic date has been scheduled.

The vaccine is free and available to all eligible people. No ID or OHIP required. Wait to get vaccinated if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or required to self-isolate.

If you think you have monkeypox, it is important to isolate right away and contact a healthcare provider. Do not visit a vaccine clinic. The vaccine is not used to treat monkeypox.

Eligibility for post-exposure vaccination (PEP)

At this time, people who have a known exposure or close contact with someone with monkeypox can get the vaccine as PEP, even if they would not be eligible for PrEP.

When the vaccine is used as PEP, it should be given within four days, but can be given up to 14 days after the last exposure.

The vaccine is free and available to all eligible people. No ID or OHIP required. Wait to get vaccinated if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and/or required to self-isolate.

Based on the Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines, anyone who self-identifies as a high risk contact of a confirmed or probable case of monkeypox should contact Lambton Public Health or their healthcare provider for further assessment to see if post-exposure vaccination would be recommended. Intermediate risk contacts may also be offered post-exposure vaccination, following the public health unit’s assessment of individual risks and benefits (i.e., to balance the risks from exposure, protection from vaccination and potential side effects from the vaccine). Post-exposure vaccination is not recommended for Low-risk contacts including health care workers.

If you think you have monkeypox, it is important to isolate right away and contact a healthcare provider. Do not visit a vaccine clinic. The vaccine is not used to treat monkeypox.

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