City health officials are reporting an additional three confirmed cases of monkeypox on Friday in Toronto since its last update.
To date, Toronto Public Health (TPH) said there have been eight positive cases while another six are under investigation. Ten possible cases have tested negative.
Last week, TPH reported its first case of the disease, and said at the time, the patient was in stable condition and recovering in hospital. A second monkeypox case was reported earlier this week in Toronto.
Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis disease, according to TPH, which means the virus is transmitted between species. Following exposure, symptoms can appear between one to two weeks later, or even five days to three weeks later. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a rash or lesions, which usually starts on the face.
The rare disease comes from the same family of viruses that causes smallpox, which the World Health Organization (WHO) declared eradicated around the world in 1980.
“Monkeypox typically spreads from close person-to-person contact through respiratory droplets, direct contact with skin lesions or bodily fluids, or indirect contact through contaminated clothing or linens,” TPH said online, “The virus enters the body through breaks in the skin or through the eyes and mouth. It can also be transmitted from contact with infected animals through bites/scratches and through wild game meat preparation.”
Health officials also said monkeypox does not spread easily between people, the risk posed to the general public is low, and the disease is not as transmissible as COVID-19.
TPH said treatment for smallpox can be used for monkeypox in emergency situations, and in some circumstances, the smallpox vaccine can be given after exposure as determined by a healthcare provider.
Health officials say most people infected with the virus recover on their own within two to four weeks, and it is rarely fatal.
A monkeypox expert with the WHO said earlier this week they do not expect a pandemic, but warned that anyone is at potential risk of getting the disease.
There are still many unknowns about monkeypox, such as how it is spreading and whether the suspension of widespread smallpox immunization decades ago may somehow be speeding up its transmission now.
The WHO has said the virus has been reported by more than 20 Member States “that are not endemic for monkeypox.”
— With files from Patricia D’Cunha