As of August 11, 2022, 426 cases of simian pox had been reported in Québec.

Symptoms

Reported symptoms are mainly skin lesions in the mouth and genital area. These lesions can be preceded or accompanied by:

  • fever;
  • night sweats;
  • headache;
  • swollen lymph nodes;
  • joint or muscle pain.

If you have been in close contact (ex., sexual contact or contact with a person living under the same roof) with a person showing these symptoms, monitor for symptoms for the next 21 days following your last contact with this person. If you live with a person who shows the symptoms mentioned above, avoid sleeping in the same bed, avoid sharing personal items (such as bedding, clothing, dishes, etc.), limit contact with them and wear a mask in their presence.

If you have symptoms consistent with simian pox, promptly see a health professional for assessment, wear a mask and cover the lesions. Inform the clinic staff of this before arriving to your appointment.

People suspected of having the disease will be contacted by the public health authority and will have to self-isolate at home, avoid contact with other members of the household, avoid sexual contact, wear a mask when in contact with other people, cover the lesions (clothing or bandages), avoid sharing any items (bedding, clothing, utensils, etc.) and practise general hygiene measures such as hand washing and respiratory etiquette. Isolation may be lifted once the scabs covering the skin lesions have fallen off and a layer healthy of skin has formed, or as recommended by the doctor if another diagnosis is made.

It is particularly important to avoid contact with immunocompromised people, pregnant women and children under 12 years of age until all the scabs have fallen off because these people are at a higher risk.

As a precaution, infected people should avoid contact with animals since the virus could be transmitted between humans and certain animals.

Transmission

Simian pox is spread through, prolonged close contact. It can spread as soon as symptoms appear, until the scabs covering the skin lesions have fallen off and a layer of healthy skin has formed. The incubation period is usually short (5 to 7 days), but can last up to 21 days.

In most cases, the illness goes away on its own within 2 to 4 weeks. In very rare cases, serious complications can occur, however.

Vaccination

In Québec, a vaccine is available to fight the simian pox.

This vaccine can be administered before or after exposure to the disease.

It is reserved for the people targeted by public health authorities.

Make an appointment

It is possible that your health and social services establishment does not offer online appointment booking. For more information on vaccination or to obtain the contact information for your establishment, consult their website.

Post-exposure

A dose of the simian pox vaccine may be given if, within the past 14 days, you have had:

  • direct contact with the skin, lesions or body fluids of a person with simian pox symptoms;
  • direct contact with items (such as clothing, bedding, sex toys) potentially contaminated by the body fluids or secretions of a person with simian pox symptoms;
  • prolonged close contact with a person with simian pox symptoms (3 or more hours less than 1 metre away, face to face, without having worn a medical-grade mask).

In the event that a person has symptoms consistent with simian pox at the time of vaccination, the vaccine may not be administered.

Pre-exposure

You may receive a dose of vaccine if you are a man (cis or trans) who is having or will have sex with another man (cis or trans) in Montréal, in one of the following situations:

  • sex with more than one regular partner
  • sex in a place where sexual activities take place
  • sex in exchange for money, goods or services.

Staff and volunteers in a social setting or event where sexual activities between men (cis or trans) may take place may also receive a dose of simian pox vaccine.

Men (cis or trans) with one regular sex partner need not receive the simian pox vaccine.