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Public Health Ontario reports first confirmed female case of monkeypox

An electronic microscope image shows the monkeypox virus seen by a team from the Arbovirus Laboratory and the Genomics and Bioinformatics Units of the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII) in Madrid, Thursday May 26, 2022. Public Health Ontario is reporting its first female case of monkeypox.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Unidad de Microscopia Electronica del ISCIII-via AP

TORONTO — Public Health Ontario says it has recorded the province's first case of monkeypox in a female. 

The agency says there are 156 confirmed cases of the disease in the province as of July 11, with all but one of them being male.

The average age of the confirmed cases, which are mostly reported in Toronto, is 37.

Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health recently said monkeypox will likely be around for "many months" because of its lengthy incubation period but he noted that Ontario isn't seeing rapid growth of the virus.

Public health officials say most cases are among men who report intimate contact with men but say anyone can get monkeypox.

The virus generally doesn't spread easily and is transmitted through prolonged close contact via respiratory droplets, direct contact with skin lesions or bodily fluids, or through contaminated clothes or bedding.

The monkeypox disease comes from the same family of viruses that cause smallpox, which the World Health Organization declared eradicated around the globe in 1980. Smallpox vaccines have proven effective in combating the monkeypox virus.

Local public health units across Ontario are holding vaccination clinics for those the province deems at high-risk of contracting monkeypox.

Moore has said the province is not looking to expand its vaccination strategy at this time because "it appears to be working."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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