Healthcare professionals in Ontario have been ordered to report any possible or suspected cases of monkeypox to local authorities by Ontario’s top public health official.
According to a copy of the order, which was issued under section 77.6 of the Health Protection and Promotion Act, health-care professionals must disclose information on any patient who satisfies the “case definitions” of monkeypox to Public Health Ontario.
The information will be used for case and contact management, as well as for investigative purposes.
The Ministry of Health confirmed to CTV News Toronto the order was issued on May 20, a day before the first suspected Ontario case was identified.
On Saturday, Toronto Public Health (TPH) said there was an infection suspected in a man in his 40s who had recently been in contact with an individual who had travelled to Montreal.
The man is in stable condition and recovering in hospital, officials said. Anyone who attended the Axis Club (located at 722 College Street) on May 14 or Woody’s bar (located at 467 Church Street) on either May 13 or May 14 may have been exposed and are being asked to self-monitor for symptoms.
Speaking with CP24 the following day, TPH associate medical officer of health Dr. Rita Shahin said monkeypox usually starts with a fever and a general feeling of being unwell—lymph nodes may be swollen and the patient can experience muscle aches.
“A couple of days later it can progress to a rash that starts first on the face. The lesions look a little bit like chickenpox. They start off with small red bumps and then fill with a clear fluid and then the rash will spread to the rest of the body.”
At the same time, Shahin said that monkeypox is not easily spread and usually requires prolonged face-to-face contact or skin-to-skin contact with the lesions.
“The risk is really low. It’s not easily spread like COVID, which is reassuring, but we’re asking anyone who may have been exposed to just be on the lookout for any unusual lesions that they may have.”
Anyone with symptoms is being asked to seek medical attention.