Italy establishes priority groups for smallpox vaccination

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The immunization campaign will give priority to homosexuals

The Italian government announced on Friday (5) that the country’s monkeypox vaccination campaign will focus primarily on homosexuals who have recently engaged in risky behavior.
The guideline released by the Ministry of Health states that, at the moment, “the modalities of contagion and the speed of spread, as well as the effectiveness of non-pharmacological measures, exclude the need for a mass vaccination campaign”.
According to the government, the immunization program will target lab workers with possible direct exposure to Orthopoxvirus (a type of virus that causes smallpox), gay, transgender, bisexual, and men who have had sex with men.
Within these categories, priority will be given to people who have had one or more of the following behaviors: sexual intercourse with multiple partners in the past three months, participation in group sexual events, participation in sexual encounters in clubs and saunas, transmitted infection in the past year and habit of consuming chemical drugs during sexual acts.
“We believe it is important to involve LGBTQIA + associations and the fight against HIV to promote correct information on the vaccination campaign”, says the Ministry of Health.
According to the undersecretary of the ministry, Pierpaolo Sileri, the “great majority” of the approximately 500 cases of monkeypox in Italy were recorded in “men of the gay community”. However, he made the reservation that it would be “incorrect” to think that the infection will remain “confined within this population”.
“Smallpox infection is not linked to sexual orientation, but its transmission requires important physical contact, such as sexual contact,” he added, urging people not to make the same mistake they made in the 1980s. associate AIDS with homosexuals.
Vaccinations will begin in the regions with the highest number of cases so far: Lombardy (2,000 doses), Lazio (1,200), Emilia-Romagna (600) and Veneto (400). The immunizing agent used is Jynneos, initially developed to combat smallpox, a disease that has been eradicated around the world since 1980.
Monkeypox can be transmitted by saliva drops and contact with body fluids and skin lesions, including during sexual intercourse. Symptoms are similar to those of smallpox, such as fever, muscle aches and blistering of the skin, albeit in a milder form.
The name “monkey vaicella” is due to the fact that the virus was discovered in monkey colonies in 1958. It is now believed that rodents are the main hosts of the pathogen.
On 23 July, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease “an emergency of international concern”, its highest alert level. .

Source: Terra

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