112 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the country, including 98 in Quebec

112 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the country, including 98 in Quebec

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Canada currently has 112 confirmed cases of monkeypox, the vast majority of which, 98, are in Quebec.

Canada’s director of public health and her deputy, Drs. Theresa Tam and Howard Njoo, provided an update on the outbreak of this virus on Friday in Ottawa.

In all cases, they are men between the ages of 20 and 63, and most of them have had sexual relations with other men. Dr. Tam, however, recalled that the entire population can be affected by this virus.

The increase in the number of cases in one week in Quebec was, however, much less than during the previous two weeks, but Dr. Njoo did not want to venture to say that we managed to stop the spread.

“Honestly, it’s too early to draw any conclusions. […] We will see in the coming days and weeks how the epidemic curve evolves in Quebec, but also throughout the country.

“We hope that with the strategy of continuing to follow up on contacts and offering vaccines in places where there are high-risk events, it will have an impact on the epidemic curve,” said the doctor.

Mass 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 other cases in the coming days and weeks,” warned Dr. Njoo.

However, the national public health believes that a mass vaccination campaign is not required at this time. The new recommendations around the administration of the IMVAMUNE vaccine suggest that a single dose be administered only to people at high risk of exposure to the virus and those in settings where the risk of transmission is high.

A national vaccination campaign would be unthinkable anyway since there are not enough vaccines, Howard Njoo also acknowledged.

“The Government of Canada is still working with manufacturers to procure other vaccines. […] but you also have to always keep in mind the possibility of a biological event with smallpox,” he explained, implying that Canada cannot afford to be completely exposed if there ever is a “traditional” smallpox outbreak.

“We don’t have an unlimited number of vaccines, but if we use them with a good strategic approach, with caution to cool down the outbreak if possible, because it may just be the beginning, we have a better chance of preventing the establishment of monkeypox. here in Canada,” he added.

The two doctors also indicated that the Canadian cases are all linked to the international outbreak that is currently affecting other countries around the world.

COVID-19: “We have overcome the sixth wave”

Tam and Njoo also provided an update on the COVID situation, specifically addressing the issue of vaccination.

“In general, we can say that now we have passed the last wave, the sixth wave, in the whole country and normally, during the summer, the activity of the virus decreases compared to the winter if we believe in the past. But it’s still important to keep monitoring because we don’t know what’s going to happen in the fall and winter when people start gathering indoors again,” said Howard Njoo.

Theresa Tam, for her part, 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 provide protection against Omicron (variant) infection because immunity declines over time and certainly after six months. So you need a third dose to get the immunity back to a higher level,” she said.

The data collected by numerous studies on the subject prove him right. Thus, he explained that at six months, the protection offered by two doses against Omicron infection is reduced to less than 20%. On the other hand, protection against the serious consequences of an infection remains strong, between 65% and 85%, depending on the studies, the populations studied, etc.

Adding a third dose, on the other hand, gives 50% to 60% protection against infection, although the studies taken together show a much wider range (40% to 80%). On the other hand, protection against serious consequences is very robust, at 90%, with a third dose.

Theresa Tam, however, warned that, here too, protection will not last forever.

“It’s going to decrease over time, but we don’t have enough data yet to measure it,” he said. Not only could it diminish over time, but a variant could also be a game changer and lower protection. It is never a static number.

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