monkeypox toronto

Toronto officials warn of potential monkeypox exposure at two popular nightclubs

Don't freak out, but if you happened to be partying at Woody's or the new Axis Club in downtown Toronto a few weeks back public health officials might want you to start self-monitoring for symptoms of monkeypox.

"Toronto Public Health (TPH) is currently investigating its first suspected case of monkeypox in an adult male resident in their 40s with recent contact with an individual who travelled to Montreal," reads a TPH news release.

"The individual is currently stable and recovering in the hospital."

City officials say that the risk of contracting this particular infection is "very low" for the general public, and that most of those infected recover on their own without treatment. Unlike COVID, monkeypox does not spread easily between people.

Nevertheless, TPH has issued a notice warning anyone who visited the following settings on the following dates that they may have been exposed.

  • An event at the Axis Club (hosted by Prism), located at 722 College St. on May 14
  • Woody's bar, located at 467 Church St. on May 13 and on May 14

As of Tuesday, May 24, The World Health Organization (WHO) is reporting 131 confirmed and 106 suspected cases of monkeypox across North America, Europe and Australia — three regions that "are not endemic for monkeypox virus" (read: don't usually see any cases of the disease at all). 

WHO experts say that this outbreak, which began in early May, is unusual, but limited and containable.

"Epidemiological investigations are ongoing, however, reported cases thus far have no established travel links to endemic areas," reads an update from the WHO. "Based on currently available information, cases have mainly but not exclusively been identified amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) seeking care in primary care and sexual health clinics."

First identified in lab monkeys back in 1958, the zoonotic disease is rare and usually only found in central and western Africa.

Symptoms are said to be mild, for the most part, and include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and a rash that often begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body. 

"In general, monkeypox does not spread easily between people. When it does, it spreads through contact with body fluids such as fluids from the monkeypox sores, contaminated clothing or bedding, or through respiratory droplets following prolonged face-to-face contact. It can also be spread through bites or scratches from infected animals," noted the City of Toronto in its release.

"Close contacts of people suspected or confirmed to have a monkeypox infection are advised to self-monitor for symptoms for 21 days after their last exposure. If symptoms develop, they should self-isolate, seek care and get tested."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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