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HEALTH

Sweden to begin offering vaccinations against monkeypox

Region Stockholm and Region Skåne will begin offering monkeypox vaccines to those who have been in contact with infected individuals this week.

Sweden to begin offering vaccinations against monkeypox
Region Stockholm and Region Skåne will begin offering monkeypox vaccinations this week. Photo: Francisco Seco/AP/TT

In Sweden, 85 people are now confirmed to have been infected with monkeypox, an increase of eight since last week, newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) reports. Cases have been recorded in multiple regions, but the clear majority have been reported in Stockholm, with 65 cases.

Region Stockholm and Region Skåne will begin offering vaccines against the virus to close contacts of confirmed cases this week. Those who are eligible for vaccination will be contacted directly by health services – it is not possible for individuals to book their own vaccine.

According to Region Skåne’s website, the healthcare regions covering Sweden’s three largest cities – Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö – have all received a limited number of vaccine doses.

It is not yet known when the vaccine will be made available for those affected in the Västra Götaland region.

Those who believe they could be infected with the virus should contact health services by calling 1177.

According to Public Health Agency guidelines, anyone who has been in close contact with a symptomatic monkeypox case will be offered the vaccine.

The vaccine is most effective if given within four days from the date you were exposed to the virus, but it can still be effective if given up to two weeks from the suspected date of infection.

The vaccine in question is called Jynneos and is in limited supply.

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HEALTH

Sweden records world’s first case of bird flu in a porpoise

A porpoise found stranded on a Swedish beach in June died of bird flu, the first time the virus has been detected in one of the marine mammals, Sweden's National Veterinary Institute said on Wednesday.

Sweden records world's first case of bird flu in a porpoise

“As far as we know this is the first confirmed case in the world of bird flu in a porpoise,” veterinarian Elina Thorsson said in a statement. “It is likely that the porpoise somehow came into contact with infected birds,” she said.

The young male was found stranded, alive, on a beach in western Sweden in late June. Despite efforts from the public to get it to swim out to deeper
waters, it was suffering from exhaustion and died the same evening.

The bird flu virus, H5N1, was found in several of its organs. “Contrary to seals, where illnesses caused by a flu virus have been detected multiple times, there have been only a handful of reports of flu virus in cetaceans”, Thorsson said.

The virus has also previously been detected in other mammals, including red foxes, otters, lynx and skunks, the institute said.

Europe and North America are currently seeing a vast outbreak of bird flu among wild birds.

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