Infectious diseases expert Dr Eoghan De Barra has explained that the Government’s vaccination campaign to combat monkeypox will be targeted specifically at men who have sex with men and have a high number of sexual partners.
There will be a limited supply of vaccine so it was important to target the campaign where it will have the most impact, he told Newstalk Breakfast.
While anybody was susceptible to monkeypox, most transmission was from intimate contact and in the western world the majority of cases have been among self declaring gay and bisexual men, he said. But not all cases.
The symptoms include skin lesions, rashes, lumps and bumps, and in some cases can be very painful and people become extremely unwell, added Dr De Barra.
The campaign would be “all about” information and education and encouraging self identifying gay and bisexual men to engage with health and sexual care services and to know that if they have skin lesions to avoid sexual or close physical contact until they are diagnosed.
Another aspect of the campaign will be prevention through use of the smallpox vaccine.
“This government, along with many others, has secured supplies – Niac said there will be vaccination campaigns – so we have a small window when the infection is largely in a certain group that can access health care, it can be targeted and try to protect that population and by protecting them, protect the wider population.
“There will be a limited supply of vaccine so they will try to target it where it will have the most impact.”