Mpox and Monkeypox (orthopoxvirus simian) virus
Mpox is a zoonotic disease caused by the monkeypox virus. The virus can be transmitted from animals to humans and between humans.
Animal-to-human transmission may occur by bite or scratch, or through the preparation of bush meat. Mpox is transmitted by symptomatic individuals through close contact with lesions, bodily fluids, or respiratory secretions and objects that have had contact with lesion crusts or bodily fluids (e.g., contaminated linens, bandages, dishes)
The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends practicing safer sex, having fewer sexual partners, and staying home when sick as ways to reduce the risk of getting infected with monkeypox.
Know the Signs and Symptoms
Mpox is a viral infection with a rash that may be painful. Most people recover on their own after a few weeks. The incubation period of Mpox is usually between 6-13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.
The rash can be painful and could affect any part of the body, such as the:
- arms and legs
The rash usually lasts between 14 and 28 days and changes through different stages. It finally forms scabs that later fall off. The rash can be accompanied by general symptoms such as:
- swollen lymph nodes
- muscle pain
- joint pain
- back pain
A person is considered infectious five days prior to rash onset and until lesions have crusted.
Vaccine and Antiviral Treatment
A supply of vaccine (Imvamune) for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) and antiviral treatment (TPOXX), if needed, is available in PEI should cases occur.
Imvamune® is a vaccine approved in Canada for protection against Mpox. The vaccine contains weakened Vaccinia virus that cross-protects against the monkeypox virus. The vaccine can be used for protection against Mpox before getting exposed to the virus (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) or after being exposed (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis).
Local Public Health Nursing offices can be contacted regarding vaccination with Mpox vaccine.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis is available to those 18 years of age and older who identify as high risk, which may include;
- Two-spirited, non-binary, trans- or cis-gender individuals who self-identify or have sexual partners who self-identify as belonging to the gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) community AND at least one of the following:
- Have received a diagnosis of bacterial STI (i.e., chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) in the past 2 months;
- Have had 2 or more sexual partners recently or may be planning to;
- 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;
- Are a sexual contact of an individual who engages in sex work.
- Any individual who engages in sex work or may be planning to.
- Are traveling to areas where monkeypox virus is circulating and plan to engage in activities that increase their exposure to Mpox.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (2 doses administered 28 days apart) may be provided to those who meet the above criteria following a discussion regarding the risks and benefits to receiving the vaccine.
Mpox infection can appear similar to other infectious diseases, such as chickenpox, or several sexually transmitted infections (such as herpes or syphilis). This is why it's important to consult a health care provider and be tested.
More information is available in the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Public Health Response Plan for the Management of the Monkeypox Outbreak.