AA / Montreal/ Hatem Kattou
Canadian health authorities announced on Friday that they could draw on its reserves of smallpox vaccine to counter the outbreak of monkeypox, five cases of which have already been confirmed in the country.
This is what emerges from a press conference co-hosted on Friday in Ottawa by Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada and Howard Njoo, Deputy Chief Administrator.
Njoo pointed out that “in the immediate future, Canada has only a limited number of doses, vaccination against smallpox having ceased in 1971”, recalling that smallpox has been eradicated since 1980.
“We may have samples left in laboratories that could one day cause an epidemiological event involving smallpox. This is why several countries, including Canada, have a certain amount of vaccine doses against this disease,” he explained.
“For the moment, we have a few doses [en banque] and we are always ready. We are discussing with Quebec a possible use, ”he argued.
Recalling that the smallpox vaccine was not originally designed against monkeypox, Dr Njoo warned that efforts will need to be made in Canada and elsewhere in the world to update guidelines for the vaccine. use of this vaccine against a disease other than that for which it was designed.
For her part, Theresa Tam said that several dozen potential cases of monkey pox (monkey pox) are under investigation in Canada, particularly in the provinces of Quebec (center) and British Columbia (west).
The chief administrator warned that she “expects to see more cases of monkeypox in the coming days”, adding that the country takes this “seriously”.
Tam noted “at present, all cases of this disease are validated at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg and discussions are underway with other laboratories to increase diagnostic capacity in the country.”
“We don’t really know the extent of the spread that’s occurred in Canada,” she said. “What we do know, however, is that few of these people are linked to trips to Africa,” the federal official revealed.
Dr. Tam assesses that at this stage, the overall risk to the population is low. Researchers are nonetheless working hard to determine why monkeypox appears to be circulating here in Canada and elsewhere in the Western world – which she says is unusual to say the least.
Recently, several Western countries have recorded cases of monkeypox. These are Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Belgium, Sweden, Italy and Australia.
Monkeypox is a rare virus similar to human smallpox, which was first detected in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s.
Monkeypox or the “Monkeypox” virus causes headaches, fever, and a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body.
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