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Gay and bisexual men urged to vaccinate against meningococcal after Melbourne outbreak

Gay men are being urged to get vaccinated against meningococcal disease after a sudden outbreak in Melbourne.

Health authorities are offering a free vaccine from today after eight men were struck down with the disease's C-strain since May.

Victoria's deputy chief health officer, Brett Sutton, said almost all the patients identified as gay or bisexual.

"Eight doesn't sound like a big number, but if this were to affect the whole of Melbourne at the same rate as it's affected men who have sex with men, we'd be talking about a couple of hundred cases over a few months," he said.

Meningococcal disease is uncommon but it can be deadly.

Ten per cent of cases are fatal within 24 to 48 hours of diagnosis.

The bacteria lives in the throat and nose and is passed on through close and prolonged contact.

"That includes intimate kissing and we think that's what's driving transmission in this outbreak," Dr Sutton said.

Patients in the high-risk group who come down with a high fever, headache and light sensitivity should see their doctor or go to hospital.

Men can get the vaccine from their local GP as of today.


Victorian Gay youth get $3.6m

  • Published in Latest

GLBTI youth have scored a much needed win after the Victorian state budget was delivered yesterday afternoon.

The State Government has committed $3.6 million over four years to establish a youth suicide community support program to target young same-sex attracted and Indigenous young people. Picking up where many depression and mental health organisations have failed.

In the same budget, the Government also committed a further $4.9 million over four years to expand rural mental health services.

Minster for mental health Lisa Neville said "staff based in community health centres and youth centres will provide preventative support, and would be involved in local activities for early intervention. We understand that Victorians are concerned about the health and wellbeing of their loved ones, that is why we are taking action to provide access to the right care and support when it is needed,”.

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