Several countries, including Portugal and Spain, have reported cases of monkeypox in recent weeks, with a US case identified Wednesday by Massachusetts public health officials in a man who had recently traveled to the Canadian province of Quebec.
“Tonight, the province of Quebec was notified that two samples received by the NML (National Microbiology Laboratory) tested positive for monkeypox. These are the first two confirmed cases in Canada,” the agency said. Public Health Canada (PHAC) in a press release. statement, adding that Canada had never seen a case of monkeypox before.
Monkeypox, which occurs mainly in West and Central Africa, is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, although milder. It was first recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s. The number of cases in West Africa has increased over the past decade.
Symptoms include fever, headache, and rash starting on the face and spreading to the rest of the body.
Health authorities in Montreal, Quebec’s largest city, told reporters earlier Thursday that there was a link between the US case of monkeypox in Massachusetts and some of the suspected cases in the Montreal area.
PHAC said the American citizen who had recently traveled to Canada from the United States by private transportation “may have been infected before or during” his visit to Montreal.