Vancouver Island confirms 1st monkeypox case

The Island Health Authority has confirmed one case of monkeypox on Vancouver Island, making it the first case in B.C. outside of the Vancouver Coastal Health region.

Island Health reported the positive case Monday morning via social media, adding that the risk to the public is “very low.”

The case is among three new cases made public since Thursday. The province now has 21 cases within the two health zones.

Last week, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) announced it would be taking a more proactive approach ahead of the major Pride celebrations.

While monkeypox is not known to be a sexually transmitted infection, sexual activities often include close contact, the BC Centre for Disease Control explains.

Read more:

Men who have sex with men have been identified as a high-risk category for infection, and the VCH said on Thursday that all of the cases in the region at that point were men who have sex with men.

“We’ve shifted our vaccination strategy from vaccinating only close contacts and only high risk exposure settings — now, we’re extending that vaccination to people who are at high risk of getting the disease,” Deputy Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Mark Lysyshyn said.

A handful of vaccine clinics opened on Canada Day in Vancouver for the Imvamune vaccine, following Quebec’s rollout of the vaccine to high risk groups in that province.

“That is people who have had a number of sexual contacts in the last 21 days, people who have been going to bath houses or sex parties, people who have had anonymous sex, [and] people who have paid [for] or sold sex. So, we’ve put those criteria out there.”

Monkeypox vaccination appointments are available for men who have sex with men who meet at least one of the following criteria:

• Have received a diagnosis of bacterial STI (i.e., chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) in the past 2 months;

• Have had 2 or more sexual partners within the past 21 days;

• Have attended venues or other locations for sexual contact within the past 21 days (e.g., bath houses, sex clubs, park play) or may be planning to;

• Have had anonymous/casual sex in the past 21 days (e.g., using apps, online sites, formal/informal gatherings) or may be planning to;

• Engage in sex work or may be planning to, either as a worker or a client.

No referral, ID, or MSP is required. Bookings can be made online.

Anyone experiencing symptoms of monkeypox should not attend a clinic, and instead find a location for testing here.

Some people experience symptoms differently, the BCCDC says.

Some people experience symptoms differently, the BCCDC says. (Credit: United Kingdom)

Across the country, most cases have involved gay and bisexual men, according to Health Canada. However, doctors have warned this can lead some people to avoid getting proper treatment, and note this virus can infect anybody.

“Monkeypox can spread to anyone who has come into close contact with someone who has the virus, regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status and race,” Health Canada reminded the public on social media Thursday.

“Stigmatization about infectious diseases can lead to a misunderstanding of risks and negative health outcomes.”

Read more:

The 2SLGBTQ+ community is urged to be aware and known the symptoms, and see medical care if anything develops.

Symptoms of monkeypox include: fever, chills, intense headache, sores/blisters, and swollen lymph nodes.

With files from Martin MacMahon

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today