Canada reported its first two confirmed cases of monkeypox Thursday night, adding to the growing number of cases in Europe and North America of the contagious, but rarely deadly disease.
“Tonight, the Province of Quebec was notified that two samples received by the NML (National Microbiology Laboratory) have tested positive for monkeypox. These are the first two cases confirmed in Canada,” the Public Health Agency of Canada said in a release.
Other suspected cases are under investigation in Montreal, Quebec’s largest city, authorities said.
Australian health authorities on Friday also confirmed a case of monkeypox that has been detected in Victoria state with another suspected case in New South Wales.
Victoria state Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said a traveler in his 30s flew from London to Melbourne via Abu Dhabi earlier this week.
Sutton said contact tracing was underway for passengers who were sitting close to the man on the flights.
Meanwhile, New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard said authorities there have also detected a suspected case in a traveler who had recently returned to the state.
“It isn’t a cause for major concern amongst the broader community, but it’s something that we need to be aware of in our community, because we believe that we are likely to have our first case. A gentleman has already been identified and the tests are taking place currently to confirm it,” Hazzard told reporters in Sydney.
At a press conference Thursday morning, Montreal public health officials noted they had 17 suspected cases.
Several dozen suspected or confirmed monkeypox infections have been detected since the beginning of May in Europe and North America, leading to fears that the disease - usually concentrated in West Africa - may be spreading.
Monkeypox is an uncommon disease that usually causes symptoms of fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted on Wednesday that anyone “can spread monkeypox through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, or shared items (such as clothing and bedding) that have been contaminated with fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox,” adding that household disinfectants can kill the virus on surfaces.