Mpox, or monkeypox, is a viral disease that can spread through close with someone carrying the virus.
Mpox is usually a mild illness and most people recover on their own after a few weeks. Public Health is collaborating with other regional health officials to monitor the situation.
Vaccination is available in urban areas of Quebec and in Eeyou Istchee to people who are considered especially at risk.
- Mpox is a disease caused by a virus.
- It usually spreads from animals (for example rodents) to humans.
- It can also spread between people.
- Mpox is NOT a sexually transmitted infection.
- The virus enters the body through contact with broken skin, or mucous membranes (e.g. eyes, nose or mouth).
Symptoms of mpox 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.
Mpox spreads through direct contact with body fluids or sores on the body of someone who has mpox, 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 prolonged close, face-to-face contact.
Mpox is nothing to be ashamed of and is not associated with a specific sexual orientation.
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).
- After exposure, symptoms can appear in as little as 5 days, but can take up to 21 days.
- People with mpox 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 mpox vaccine is available in urban centres (like Montreal) and in Eeyou Istchee for eligible people.
Check yourself. If you notice any mpox 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 mpox 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.
The vaccine is 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”).
As of September 9, 2022:
You are eligible for pre-exposure vaccination if:
- You are a man (including trans) who has, or plans to have, sex with other men (other than with your exclusive partner).
- You are a man or woman who has, or plans to have, sexual encounters with multiple partners and/or anonymous partners, or in exchange of sex for money/drugs/food.
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.
Ideally, the vaccine is given within 4 days of the exposure. It may be given up to 14 days.
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 of complications 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 mpox, 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 mpox.