Learn about the virus, how it spreads, and how we’re responding in Peel.
Monkeypox is a viral illness that causes fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, body aches and tiredness, followed by a rash over a person’s body. It’s usually spread by very close contact with someone who has the virus.
Monkeypox spreads through:
- Close, physical contact with someone who has monkeypox (especially from contact with the rash, bodily fluids, or scabs) like when hugging, having sex or providing care.
- Prolonged face-to-face contact someone who has monkeypox through respiratory droplets from breathing, talking, coughing, or sneezing.
- Contact with objects, fabrics and surfaces used by someone who has monkeypox
The virus enters the body through breaks in the skin or through the eyes and mouth or other mucus membranes.
Cases in Peel
For up to date information on cases in Ontario and in Peel refer to monkeypox in Ontario.
Symptoms usually start within 6 to 13 days after being exposed to monkeypox but can start anywhere from 5 to 21 days after exposure to the virus.
Common symptoms include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Body aches
- Feeling extremely tired
- Rash with blisters (1 to 3 days after fever, but in some cases, can appear before fever or other symptoms).
A rash caused by monkeypox usually appears on the face or genitals first and then spreads to other areas. The rash may initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy.
Monkeypox may look like other infectious diseases, such as chickenpox, or several sexually transmitted infections including herpes and syphilis. It’s important to see a health care provider for an accurate diagnosis, based on symptoms and laboratory testing.
How to prevent the spread
You can help stay safe and prevent the spread of monkeypox in the community by:
- Washing your hands often.
- Wearing a mask indoors when possible.
- Limiting close contacts, including sex partners.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces often.
- Staying home if you have symptoms and talking to your health care provider.
- Getting vaccinated if eligible.
If you think you have monkeypox
If you have any symptoms of monkeypox, avoid close contact, including sex or being intimate with anyone, until you have been checked out by a health care provider.
If you’re diagnosed with monkeypox, public health will let you know how long you need to self-isolate for and the steps you need to take to reduce the risk to others.
If you’ve had contact with someone with monkeypox
If someone you had close physical contact with tells you they have monkeypox, contact your health care provider or Peel Public Health to find out if you should receive the vaccine. The vaccine may to prevent you from getting monkeypox or may prevent serious symptoms if you do get sick.
You should monitor yourself for symptoms for 21 days after your exposure even if you’ve received the vaccine.
If symptoms develop you should self-isolate and contact your health care provider for testing.
Imvamune® vaccine is approved in Canada for protection against monkeypox. The vaccine can be used for protection against monkeypox before getting exposed to the virus (pre-exposure vaccination) or after being exposed (post-exposure vaccination).
In Ontario, anyone that is currently eligible for pre-exposure or post-exposure vaccination will be offered 2 doses of the vaccine, with at least 28 days between first and second doses.
If you received only 1 dose of the vaccine at least 28 days ago, you are now eligible for a second dose. Please contact Peel Public Health to book an appointment for your second dose at one of the vaccine locations below.
If you've tested positive for monkeypox recently, you should have natural immunity after your infection has cleared and you do not need the vaccine.
Adults 18 years or older who meet eligibility criteria based on risk factors that put people at high risk are eligible for the vaccine. If you are under 18 and are at high risk you may still be eligible. Call Peel Public Health to check your eligibility.
Pre-exposure vaccination is available for:
a) Two-spirit, non-binary, transgender, cisgender, intersex, or gender-queer individuals who self-identify or have sexual partners who self-identify as belonging to the gay, bisexual, pansexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) community AND at least 1 of the following:
- Had a confirmed sexually transmitted infection in the past year.
- Have or are planning to have 2 or more sexual partners.
- Are in a relationship where at least 1 of the partners may have other sexual partners.
- Attended a bath house, sex club or similar place for sexual contact recently or may be planning to, or work or volunteer in these settings.
- Had anonymous sex (e.g., using hookup apps) recently, or may be planning to.
- Are a sexual contact of an individual who engages in sex work.
b) Individuals who self-identify as engaging in sex work or are planning to, regardless of self-identified sex or gender.
If you’re immunocompromised or pregnant, but don’t meet the pre-exposure vaccination eligibility in parts (a) or (b), you may still be eligible for the vaccine if you live with or are a sexual contact of anyone that meets the eligibility in parts (a) or (b) above. You should contact your health care provider or Peel Public Health to discuss getting the vaccine as you may be at higher risk for severe illness from monkeypox
Post-exposure vaccination is available for individuals who have been in close contact with someone with monkeypox. Contact Peel Public Health or your health care provider to find out if you are eligible.
Call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700 to book an appointment at the locations listed below.
Peel Public Health Fairview clinic
325 Central Parkway West, Mississauga
January 20 and 27 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Eligible individuals unable to get the vaccine from the locations listed above can call Peel Public Health for support to receive the vaccine..
Find additional clinics in the Greater Toronto Area.