Suspected cases of monkeypox in Canada are being investigated and there's a link to a confirmed case in the U.S.
On May 19, public health officials in Montreal gave an update about possible cases of monkeypox in Canada and revealed that there are 17 suspected cases of the virus in the city that have been declared to public health.
Dr. Mylène Drouin, the director of public health for Montreal, said 15 of those are in Montreal proper and there is one each on the south shore and north shore.
"Mainly those cases are men that have had sexual relationships with other men, aged between 30 to 55 years old," Drouin said.
She explained that the presentation of the virus is mainly lesions in oral and genital regions along with fever, sweating and headaches.
It is also typically transmitted by close contact and droplets and is not a solely sexually transmitted disease.
According to the CDC, symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, backaches, chills, exhaustion, headaches, swollen lymph nodes, rashes and lesions.
"Most of our cases are not severe cases, so this is important to know at the time we're speaking," the public health official noted.
The first suspected case in Montreal was reported on May 12 and then when there were suspected cases in the U.S. who had recently travelled to Montreal, officials changed the course of their investigation.
So far, there have been no laboratory confirmations so all of the cases are still considered "suspected."
"We do not have to panic," Drouin said. "It is not something that is going to go to community transmission that is going to be sustained. It's not something that you can acquire when you do your grocery [shopping] or on public transportation."
On May 18, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed a case of monkeypox in an adult male who had recently travelled to Canada.
Montreal public health officials mentioned that the case from the U.S. has been linked to a few of the suspected cases in the city but not all of them.
Also, there are some links to travel, specifically to Mexico and Belgium, but not all of the potential cases are related to travel.
The U.K., Spain, Portugal and Italy have recently reported possible or confirmed cases of monkeypox.
Officials have no information on other potential outbreaks in Canada so far.