Sudbury’s health unit offering limited monkeypox vaccine program & More Breaking News

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Public Health Sudbury and Districts is offering a monkeypox vaccine to those eligible for one.

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“Imvamune is currently being used … in Ontario for individuals in locations with confirmed cases,” Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, the region’s medicial officer of health, said in a letter.

“Given the limited supply of this vaccine, Ontario is using a ring vaccination approach. Eligible individuals are being offered one dose of Imvamune or two doses if the eligible individual is immunocompromised.”

Public Health’s Elm Place office in Sudbury (10 Elm St., Unit 130) and Réseau ACCESS Network will provide, by appointment, Imvamune to eligible individuals who would like to receive the vaccine. Public Health will also coordinate to ensure its is accessible throughout its catchment area, as needed.

Those eligible for a shot include trans- or cis-gender individuals who self-identify as gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men if at least one of the following applies:

  • Have received a diagnosis of bacterial sexually transmitted infection (such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) in the past two months. Have had two or more sexual partners within the past 21 days or may be planning to do so.
  • Have attended venues for sexual contact within the past 21 days (such a bathhouses, sex clubs) or may be planning to, or who work or volunteer in these settings.
  • Have had anonymous sex in the past 21 days (for exampe, by using “hookup” apps) or maybe planning to do so.
  • Engage in sex work or may be planning to, and their sexual contacts.

In addition, those who are immunocompromised, pregnant, or breastfeeding may be at higher risk for severe illness from a monkeypox infection. These individuals should contact Public Health for consideration of the vaccine if they are at risk for contracting monkeypox.

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Eligible individuals should call Public Health at 705.522.9200, ext. 482, (toll-free 1-866-522-9200) or Réseau ACCESS Network at 705-688-0500.

For case and contact management information, contact the Control of Infectious Diseases program at 705-522-9200, ext. 772 (toll-free 1-866-522-9200).

Sudbury has recorded just one case of the virus so far, but the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23.

The once-rare disease has been established in parts of central and west Africa for decades but was not known to spark large outbreaks beyond the continent or to spread widely among people until May, when authorities detected dozens of epidemics in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

To date, more than 22,000 monkeypox cases have bee reported in nearly 80 countries since May, with about 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo. On Friday, Brazil and Spain reported deaths linked to monkeypox, the first reported outside Africa. Spain reported a second monkeypox death Saturday.

The virus spreads through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing. In Europe and North America, it has spread primarily among men who have sex with men, though health officials emphasize that the virus can infect anyone.

The type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak is rarely fatal, and people usually recover within weeks. But the lesions and blisters caused by the virus are painful.

– with files from Associated Press

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