Just over a month after Quebec declared an end to its mpox outbreak, officials have confirmed two more cases in the Montreal area.
Montreal public health says the two positive test results date to March 17. Both individuals are men who have sex with men (MSM) "who acquired the disease through sexual contact while travelling in countries where local transmission is documented," a statement from public health reads.
The men were both vaccinated against mpox and are displaying what officials describe as "typical symptoms." Those can include skin lesions, fever, fatigue, muscle pain and swollen lymph nodes.
Quebec counted 400 mpox cases between May and October 2022. The provincial ministry of health said on February 14, 2023, that the outbreak was over. The World Health Organization (WHO) still labels the international mpox outbreak a public health emergency.
The WHO began using the term mpox in November. It replaces the term "monkeypox," which the United Nations agency says has become associated with "racist and stigmatizing language."
Montreal public health is encouraging eligible individuals to seek vaccination against mpox. Eligible groups include people who have had direct contact with a confirmed or probable case; "gay, bisexual, heterosexual, pansexual or queer men and transgender, transmasculine, two-spirited, non-binary or gender non-conforming persons who have sexual contact with at least one male partner other than a regular and exclusive sexual partner;" sex workers; and "workers or volunteers in a social setting or LGBTQ+ event with on-site sex."
"Wastewater surveillance does not suggest that there is currently sustained undetected local transmission in Montreal, but the latest available data is from the week of March 6-12," the March 2023 public health statement continues. "In addition, cases of mpox have also been detected in the City of Toronto, many of whom may have acquired the disease locally. Other major North American cities have also observed cases of mpox in 2023."