The public health unit for Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington sent out a release on Thursday morning to notify the public of the area’s first confirmed case of monkeypox.

The region’s first case coincides with a considerable rise in cases in the country, with Canada seeing a 59% increase in confirmed cases in the last nine days bringing the nation’s total to 477.

For the individual in the Kingston area, public health says contact tracing is complete and case management is underway.

Medical Officer of Health for KFL&A Dr. Piotr Oglaza says despite this case and the growing rates seen in Canada, the risk level for the public is still low and not a cause for alarm.

“Monkeypox virus has been circulating in the province for a few months now and we did expect it would arrive in the KFL&A region. There is no increased risk of monkeypox to KFL&A residents deriving from this case,” said Dr. Oglaza.

“In general, monkeypox does not spread easily between people. KFLA residents should not be concerned going about their everyday activities in the community. We recommend that individuals are aware of symptoms and seek immediate medical attention if symptoms present.”

Some of those symptoms include rashes or blisters in the mouth or genital area, swollen lymph nodes, fever and chills, muscle and headaches, and exhaustion.

The disease spreads through bodily fluids, and the most commonly reported risk factor for transmission of the illness is intimate or sexual contact with new or multiple partners.

The release says symptoms can present themselves anywhere from 5 to 21 days since exposures, and adds that symptoms are generally manageable and most people are back to normal in 2 to 4 weeks after contracting the illness.

Monkeypox, first identified in humans in 1970, was observed in the United States around July 2021, and the first confirmed case in Canada was announced this past May.

Close contacts of confirmed cases will be contacted by public health in a similar fashion to COVID-19, and the release adds that the Ministry of Health is currently working on making a vaccine available to high-risk groups.