Monkeypox is a viral disease that can spread through close contact between people and through respiratory droplets (for example when people sneeze or cough). Learn more about symptoms, vaccination and who is at higher risk.
Public Health is collaborating with other regional health officials to monitor the situation.
Vaccination is available in Quebec to certain people who are considered especially at risk of being exposed to monkeypox. Vaccination will be available soon to eligible people on territory in Eeyou Istchee at the CMCs.
- Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus.
- It usually spreads from animals (for example rodents) to humans.
- It can also spread between people, but human-to-human transmission is less common.
- The virus enters the body through contact with broken skin, or mucous membranes (e.g. eyes, nose or mouth), and through respiratory droplets.
Symptoms of monkeypox typically include:
- swollen lymph nodes
- skin rash or lesions (can be anywhere on the body)
- intense headache
- muscle or joint aches
- back pain
- low energy (fatigue)
The most reported symptom is skin lesions or rash (specifically around mouth and genital areas), with fever before or after the lesions appear. People can have very few or many lesions, depending on the case.
Monkeypox spreads through direct contact with body fluids or sores on the body of someone who has monkeypox, or with direct contact with materials that have touched body fluids or sores, like clothing or sheets.
It may also spread through respiratory droplets when people have close, face-to-face contact.
People who closely interact with someone who is infectious are at greater risk for infection (including health workers who do not wear protective equipment like gloves and masks, household members and sexual partners). Monkeypox is nothing to be ashamed of and is not associated with a specific sexual orientation.
- After exposure, symptoms can appear in as little as 5 days, but can take up to 21 days.
- People with monkeypox are contagious while they have symptoms (and likely, one day before symptoms appear) and until their rash lesions dry out. This may take 2-4 weeks.
Vaccination can help to prevent the disease. A monkeypox vaccine is available in urban centres (like Montreal) for eligible people, and will be available soon in Eeyou Istchee.
The vaccine will be offered based on recent and potential exposure. It may be offered before a person has been exposed (“pre-exposure”), or after they have been exposed (“post-exposure”). For post-exposure, the vaccine is typically given within the 4 days after the exposure to prevent the disease from starting. Longer periods of time may also be considered if there are no symptoms – talk to your healthcare provider.
Check yourself. If you notice any monkeypox symptoms and you have attended social situations or events where sexual activities were taking place (like bathhouses or saunas), talk to a healthcare professional.
The monkeypox vaccine can be given only to people who do not have symptoms. For the moment, vaccines are limited. This is why people participating in certain activities where there is transmission are being prioritized.
As of June 14, 2022:
You are eligible for pre-exposure vaccination if:
You are a man (including trans) who has, or will have, sex in Montreal with a man (including trans):
- Other than a regular single sexual partner (your exclusive partner)
- In a social setting or event with sex on site
- In exchange for money or other goods or services
You work in social settings or events (like saunas or bathhouses) in Montreal where sexual activities take place between men and were in contact with objects, towels or bedding that could be contaminated.
You are eligible for post-exposure vaccination if:
In the past 14 days, you had:
- Direct contact with skin or lesions of a suspected or confirmed case
- Direct contact directly with body fluids (like mucus, saliva, pus from lesions, etc.) of somebody with a suspected or confirmed case
- Direct contact with surfaces or objects contaminated with the body fluids of a suspected or confirmed case (towels, bedding, clothing etc.)
- Physical contact within 1 metre for at least 3 hours (combined over a 24-hour period), face-to-face with a suspected or confirmed case without wearing a medical mask.
Symptoms typically last between 2 to 4 weeks and go away on their own without treatment. Some cases can lead to medical complications that can become severe. Ask your healthcare provider for more information.
People who are higher risk include children under 5, pregnant women, and people who are immunosuppressed (including people who have received organ transplants).
If you think you have symptoms that could be monkeypox, call your CMC and consult a health care provider.
Let them know if you have had close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed monkeypox.