Monkeypox: the suspected case is negative

Monkeypox: the suspected case is negative

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The suspected case of monkeypox in New Brunswick was ultimately not one, according to the Department of Health.

Minister Dorothy Shephard said Wednesday that a first suspected case of monkeypox had been identified in New Brunswick. The test result was negative, we found out on Friday.

According to Public Health, the person suspected of having contracted the disease sought medical attention for another problem unrelated to this disease. He also mentioned experiencing some symptoms in the past.

Samples were collected for laboratory testing and monkeypox was not detected in this person.

“However, since these samples were not taken when symptoms were present, we cannot safely exclude monkeypox,” said Michelle Guénard, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health.

She explains that Public Health has reached out to the person and their close contact to advise them to watch for symptoms and report them immediately.

“The risk to the public from this suspected case is very low.”

Health Minister Dorothy Shephard also calls for calm. She is not worried.

“We believe that there are no other cases in the province. Public Health will continue to monitor this.”

According to the World Health Organization, monkeypox has similar characteristics to smallpox, a related virus that was declared globally eradicated in 1980. Monkeypox is less contagious than smallpox and causes milder disease.

Clinically, monkeypox usually manifests with fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes and can cause a variety of medical complications.

Infection occurs mainly in the tropical forest regions of central and western Africa.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, no human-to-human transmission of the disease has been observed in the country so far.

Provinces and territories have publicly reported 58 cases of monkeypox as of June 2.

A rare communication

The Public Health spokeswoman says that in the future, Public Health will only report monkeypox cases when they are confirmed.

Public Health did not first report this suspected case to the public. Rather, it was Minister Dorothy Shephard who spontaneously mentioned this during Wednesday’s question period.

Our questions sent to the Ministry of Health on Wednesday and Thursday went unanswered. It was not until Friday, on Radio-Canada Acadie’s La Matinale, that Dr. Yves Léger, interim deputy medical director, revealed that the result was negative.

He was not available for an interview during the day Friday.

David Coon, leader of the Green Party, finds it “strange” that the minister mentions the suspicious case when answering a question in the Assembly.

“Once again, we have a problem with inadequate government communication on an important public health issue in New Brunswick. What’s happening?”

He would have preferred that the government organize a conference to inform the population in order to avoid possible false rumors and provide information about the disease.

“I heard Dr. Léger on the radio this morning talking about it, but we have to organize a press conference to tell us, ‘this is what it is, this is where we are at NB, and here is how to take protective measures if it is it becomes a problem.”

According to the Minister of Health, Public Health was informed of the negative result before Friday.

“I think we received the negative result (Thursday) in the morning. I suppose it could have been the day before, late. It was after my comment in the courtroom (Wednesday),” she told reporters.

During question period, Liberal MP Guy Arseneault criticized him for not having informed the public earlier.

“While he knew it was inconclusive, he did not return to the room and address the audience. She created fear in NB and did not quell that fear. We only hear it on the radio (…) Why doesn’t the minister herself inform the people of New Brunswick, as she normally should? It is her responsibility.”

“All I can say is that all the relevant information is there. Public Health employees have done their job in an exemplary manner,” replied the Minister, adding that the opposition is simply trying to make headlines.

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