Canada currently has 112 confirmed cases of monkeypox, with the overwhelming majority, 98, occurring in Quebec.
The Chief Public Health Officers of Canada and her deputy, Doctors Theresa Tam and Howard Njoo, provided an update on the outbreak of this virus in Ottawa on Friday.
All of the cases are men aged 20 to 63, and most of them have had sexual relations with other men. dr However, Tam reminded that the entire population can be affected by this virus.
However, the one-week increase in case numbers in Quebec was much smaller than the previous two weeks, but Dr. Njoo didn’t want to say that we managed to contain the spread.
“Honestly, it’s too early to draw any conclusions. […] In the coming days and weeks we will see how the epidemic curve develops in Quebec, but also throughout the country.
“We hope that the strategy of continuing to pursue contacts and offering vaccines in places where high-risk events occur will influence the course of the epidemic,” said the doctor.
Massive vaccination: neither necessary nor possible
The other identified cases are nine in Ontario, four in Alberta and one in British Columbia. The national microbiology laboratory is also investigating other suspected cases.
“We are preparing for the confirmation of additional cases in the coming days and weeks,” warned Dr. Njoo.
However, national public health believes that no mass vaccination campaign is needed at this time. The new recommendations for administering the IMVAMUNE vaccine suggest that a single dose should only be given to people who are at high risk of exposure to the virus and those who are in high-risk transmission environments.
Howard Njoo also conceded that a national vaccination campaign was unthinkable anyway because there were not enough vaccines.
“The Canadian government is still working with manufacturers to source other vaccines […] But you also always have to keep in mind the possibility of a smallpox biological event,” he explained, implying that Canada cannot afford to be fully exposed if a “traditional” smallpox outbreak ever occurs.
“We don’t have an unlimited supply of vaccines, but if we use them with a good strategic approach, with caution, to try to contain the outbreak as much as possible, as this may be just the beginning, we have a better chance of preventing monkeypox from becoming established here.” in Canada,” he added.
The two doctors also stated that the Canadian cases are all related to the international outbreak that is currently affecting other countries around the world.
COVID-19: “We survived the sixth wave”
Doctors Tam and Njoo also provided an update on the COVID situation, specifically addressing the issue of vaccination.
“In general we can say that we have now survived the last wave, the sixth wave, across the country and usually in summer the activity of the virus decreases compared to winter if we believe the past. But it’s still important to continue monitoring because we don’t know what will happen in the fall and winter when people start congregating indoors again,” Howard Njoo said.
For her part, Theresa Tam says she is planning a new awareness campaign in the fall to encourage people to get a third dose. “Two doses are not enough to protect against infection with (the variant) Omicron as immunity wears off over time and certainly after six months. So you need a third dose to bring the immunity back to a higher level,” she said.
The data collected from numerous studies on the subject prove him right. She explained that after six months the protection offered by two doses against infection with Omicron drops to less than 20%. On the other hand, protection against the serious consequences of infection remains strong, between 65% and 85% depending on the studies, populations studied, etc.
The addition of a third dose, on the other hand, provides 50% to 60% protection against infection, although overall studies show a much wider range (40% to 80%). On the other hand, the protection against serious consequences at a third dose is very robust at 90%.
However, Theresa Tam warned that the protection will not last forever either.
“It will decrease over time, but we don’t have enough data to measure it yet,” she said. Not only could it decrease over time, but a variant could change the game and reduce protection. It is never a static number.
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