Mpox (Monkeypox) is a disease caused by the monkeypox virus. Since May 2022, an outbreak of the disease is taking place in many countries where it doesn’t normally happen, including Canada.
Who does Mpox impact?
Mpox vaccine recommendations are for two-spirit, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (2SGBTQ+) communities. Most of the recent cases are happening through close contacts between men who identify as having sex with other men.
Anyone can get or pass on mpox, regardless of their sexuality. Stigmatizing people because of a disease is never okay.
How it spreads and symptoms
Mpox enters the body through broken skin, including fissures that may not be visible to the eye; the respiratory tract, or the eyes, nose, or mouth. Most people experience symptoms that last 2-4 weeks and happen in two stages. Symptoms can show up in different ways with stage one being more varied.
- First stage symptoms can include: Fever, chills, intense headache, swollen lymph nodes, back pain, muscle pain, fatigue or exhaustion, and other less common symptoms including a sore throat, cough, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- Second stage symptoms include: Rash (sores/blisters) on the hands, feet, arms, legs, mouth, and/or genitals.
For more information on Mpox symptoms - BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).
Mpox vaccines are available in the Northern Health region for people at the highest risk for contracting mpox which includes people who identify as two-spirit, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (2SGBTQ+).
The vaccine is not recommended for the general public. Northern Health Public Health is following federal and provincial guidance on the use of a limited vaccine supply to protect those at highest risk.
How to get the vaccine
- Confirm your eligibility. The populations at greatest risk of being exposed to mpox are eligible to receive pre-exposure prophylaxis. Eligible individuals are transgender people or those who self-identify as belonging to the gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men community and answer yes to any of the questions below:
- Have received a diagnosis of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and/or syphilis in the past two months, or
- Have had two or more sexual partners in the last 21 days, or
- Have attended bath houses, sex clubs, or park play, or are planning to
- Have had anonymous sex in the past 21 days (i.e. using apps, online sites, formal/informal gatherings) or are planning to, or
- Engage in sex work or plan to, either as a worker or a client
- Make a mpox vaccine appointment. Eligible individuals who live in the Northern Health region can book an appointment via the following options:
- Prince George: Call the Northern Interior Health Unit at 250-645-8983.
- All other Northern Health communities: Call the Northern Health Virtual Primary and Community Care Clinic at 1-844-645-7811.
If you are eligible for the mpox vaccine, you may want to consider HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Learn more about how to access PrEP in BC - Community-Based Research Centre
Where to find more information
- Mpox Bulletin - Health Initiative for Men
- Mpox information - BC Centre for Disease Control
- Mpox outbreak updates - Public Health Agency of Canada