OTTAWA, June 17 (Xinhua) -- Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam confirmed a total of 168 cases of monkeypox in the country as of Friday.
Speaking at a health briefing, the top doctor said that these confirmed cases had been reported nationally, including two cases from British Columbia, four from Alberta, 21 from Ontario and 141 from Quebec.
"We continue to monitor and respond to the evolving monkeypox situation, including supporting provinces and territories in their efforts to roll out targeted vaccination campaigns," Tam said, adding that they are working to raise awareness of how the virus is transmitted.
According to her, among the cases for whom information is available and has been reported to the Public Health Agency of Canada, all cases are male and ages range from 20 to 69 years.
However, the risk of exposure to monkeypox virus is not exclusive to any group or setting. Anyone, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, could get infected and spread the virus if they come into close contact with someone who has monkeypox or objects they have used, like personal objects, towels or bed linens, she said.
Monkeypox is a sylvatic zoonosis that may cause infections in humans and the disease usually occurs in forested parts of Central and West Africa. It is caused by the monkeypox virus which belongs to the orthopoxvirus family, according to the World Health Organization. ■