Alberta’s top doctor has announced that the province has confirmed its first case of monkeypox.
Dr Deena Hinshaw made the announcement on Twitter on Thursday afternoon, saying it was an “isolated case” and that the individual had “close contact” with a “known case” outside of Alberta.
They are currently self-isolating and are working with Alberta Health to enable contact tracing, Hinshaw added.
“Monkeypox is a rare disease that can cause fever, aches and pains and a rash,” says Hinshaw. “Although monkeypox is uncommon and generally considered low risk to the general public, an isolated case has now been confirmed in Alberta.”
Hinshaw said transmission can occur through contact with bodily fluids, sores, or personal items that have been recently contaminated with body fluids or sores.
She added: “Monkeypox is not easily spread between people. “While it is also possible to get sick from respiratory droplets after being around an infected person for a long time, those most at risk are those who have had long-term exposure to a case.”
As of Wednesday, the Quebec Ministry of Health had confirmed 52 cases of the virus, while Toronto confirmed a second case of the virus.
Globally, there are more than 550 confirmed cases in 30 countries, including Spain, Portugal, Thailand, Mexico and Israel.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox was first detected in 1958 when it was first identified in captive study populations of monkeys. The first human case was reported in 1970.
Early symptoms of the rare disease include fever, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, headache, and swollen lymph nodes.
Within three days of first symptoms appearing, patients may develop a rash all over the body, which turns into pustules or scabs that may fall off as the virus progresses. The CDC says the illness usually lasts two to four weeks.
Due to privacy concerns, Hinshaw said no further identifying information about the monkeypox case would be released.
“Although the current risk of infection is low for the general population, monkeypox can affect anyone who has had long-term contact with an infected person,” Hinshaw added.
“We are continuing to investigate the spread of monkeypox with our federal and provincial partners and will regularly assess the situation as it evolves.”
CTV News Edmonton has reached out to the Alberta Department of Health for further comment.
With files from CTV News Montreal and CTVNews.ca