The province has announced that smallpox vaccines, which can combat the spread of monkeypox, are available to British Columbians.
Although the number of cases of monkeypox in B.C. remains low, the province says community transmission has been identified.
As of Wednesday (July 27), there were 61 confirmed cases of infection in B.C.: three in Fraser Health, 54 in Vancouver Coastal Health and four in Island Health.
The province said contact tracing is being done to notify those who have been exposed.
On July 23, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern over the global monkeypox outbreak which has confirmed 18,000 cases across 78 countries. The spread is mostly being seen in Europe, while 4,600 cases have been confirmed in the U.S.
The monkeypox virus does not spread easily from person-to-person. All identified local transmission has involved prolonged skin-to-skin contact, which is suspected to be the primary way the virus is spread.
To date, B.C. has received 14,480 doses of the Imvamune vaccine for outbreak control, including post-exposure prophylaxis. Vaccines are ordered weekly and all doses are distributed to health authorities for administration. As of Monday, 7,200 doses were administrated to people.
Local public health authorities are identifying contacts or any higher risk groups. Vaccine clinics are being offered across the province, with vaccines prioritized for the Lower Mainland where most of the infections have occurred.
Symptoms of monkeypox infection usually appear one to two weeks after exposure but can take anywhere from five to 21 days to appear, and include fever, muscle pain and a rash or pox-like blisters.
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