Monkey pox: Public health calls on targeted groups to get vaccinated

Monkey pox: Public health calls on targeted groups to get vaccinated

Although the evolution of simian pox would have reached a plateau for a few weeks, the regional director of public health, Dr. Mylène Drouin, invites people at risk to get vaccinated. As of July 27, 299 confirmed cases of smallpox have been identified in the Montreal area and 13,250 people have been vaccinated. So far, six people have been hospitalized for complications.

The World Health Organization raised its highest level of alert last Saturday, recognizing the outbreak as a “public health emergency of International concern”. Most infections continue to affect men who have sex with men.

For Dr. Drouin, the target is to vaccinate more than 25,000 people in the targeted groups to maintain the plateau, or avoid a “surge in cases”.

The most reported symptoms are swollen glands, fever, night sweats – all similar to flu symptoms. They may be accompanied by ulcerations on the genitals and on the face. Symptoms can last 2 to 4 weeks.

“If we look at the Montreal epidemic curve, we see a plateau that has been setting in for several weeks, which is rather encouraging,” said Dr. Drouin.

However, she wishes to remain “humble” in the face of this plateau as she sees the surge in cases in other parts of the world. Although the vaccine is available for people over the age of 18, Dr. Drouin explained that minors who consider themselves to be at high risk, such as when exposed to the virus, could receive a dose of the vaccine.

For the moment, no booster dose is available except for immunocompromised people.

‘No time for stigma’

Dr. Drouin reacted to remarks by the Chief Public Health Officer, Dr.D Theresa Tam, Thursday. The latter had recommended this week to people at risk “to adopt safe sexual practices” and to “reduce the number of sexual partners”.

For Dr. Drouin, the best recommendation remains to rely on the personal responsibility of the individuals concerned. This was emphasized by RÉZO’s general manager, Alexandre Dumont Blais.

“We should also be careful that institutions do not tell LGBTQ+ people what to do. You have to remember the past too, he says. You have to go into personal responsibility and harm reduction, ”explained Alexandre Dumont Blais.

We don’t have time for stigma right now […]. Anyone can have this virus.

Alexandre Dumont Blais, general manager of RÉZO

Montreal Pride wants to be reassuring

A few days before the start of the Montreal Pride Festival festivities, its general manager Simon Gamache wanted to be reassuring. He assured that the organization will continue to transmit the messages for vaccination during the festival.

“The proactivity of the regional management, in close collaboration with community players, made it possible to envisage a pride that will go well, even if vigilance remains in order,” explained the general manager of Pride Montreal, Simon Gamache, also present at the press briefing.

RÉZO’s general manager, Alexandre Dumont Blais, explained that an intervention kiosk will be present during the festival. His organization also reportedly received testimonies from infected people complaining of painful symptoms and prolonged isolation.

“Even if we can cure smallpox, some people can go through very difficult times in the middle of summer, after two years of pandemic and confinement, he says. Our message is not to be afraid to talk about it with your partners and to go get tested if you have any doubts.

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