Statement from Chief Medical Officer of Health on monkeypox risk factors in the Yukon and the territory’s response

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sudit Ranade has issued the following statement:

“In July, the first case of monkeypox was confirmed in the Yukon. Monkeypox is rarely fatal and usually causes mild disease that resolves within two to four weeks. For some people, the symptoms can be challenging to manage, and can include fever, headache, fatigue, sore throat, cough, and a painful skin rash.

“With monkeypox present in the Yukon, the Department of Health and Social Services’ Public Health branch and Yukon Communicable Disease Control (YCDC) are working closely with health system and community partners to ensure Yukoners are aware of the risk factors associated with monkeypox, perform routine case and contact management, and to provide people the most up-to-date information available about preventing transmission.

“Educating Yukoners and increasing awareness of risk factors is an important part of the territory’s prevention strategy. Anyone can be exposed and infected from close, skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact. Monkeypox may also spread by prolonged contact with contaminated surfaces like bedding or clothing. 

“Vaccination will also support our response to monkeypox, but the current supply of vaccines is extremely limited. The benefits of vaccination in terms of reducing or preventing monkeypox transmission remain unknown, and there is limited evidence for the use of vaccine to reduce symptoms in people who have been exposed or who have risk factors for exposure. Depending on the level of exposure, contacts of a known case may be offered vaccination in the territory to reduce their risk of severe disease.

“Early reports of monkeypox spread in Canada show an association with the Queer community, specifically through close, skin-to-skin contact between men. However, anyone can be exposed and infected, regardless of their sexuality or gender. At this time, monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI). 

“Unfairly stigmatizing any group causes harm and could delay infection prevention and control efforts. This will make it more difficult to identify, treat, and manage cases.

“If you’re not feeling well, limit close contact with others. If you develop a rash or lesions, avoid all skin-to-skin contact, keep that area of your body covered, and contact your health care provider, health care centre or the emergency room to be assessed. If you’re unsure, call 811.

“The Department of Health and Social Services will not announce suspected or confirmed monkeypox case numbers, their location, or any demographic or identifiable information. The latest information on monkeypox in the Yukon can be found at Yukon.ca/monkeypox, which also links to a variety of helpful resources from BC Centre for Disease Control and outbreak updates from Health Canada. 

Contact 

Matt Davidson
Communications, Health and Social Services
867-335-1531
matthew.davidson@yukon.ca

News release #: 
22-257