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Two more people now diagnosed with monkeypox in Ireland

There are a total of 321 confirmed cases in Europe and 557 worldwide.
An electron microscope image shows monkeypox virions (Cynthia S Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP)

An electron microscope image shows monkeypox virions (Cynthia S Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP)

Eilish O'Regan

Two more people have been diagnosed with monkeypox virus bringing the numbers to four so far.

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) confirmed the additional cases today.

It said this is not unexpected following the presence of monkeypox cases in the UK and many European countries.

It said that for each case, public health is following up those who had close contact with the case while they were infectious.

There are a total of 321 confirmed cases in Europe and 557 worldwide.

The number of cases of monkeypox has risen to four

The number of cases of monkeypox has risen to four

The HPSC said: “In order to maintain patient confidentiality, no further information about the cases will be provided. Public health risk assessments have been undertaken, and those who were in contact with the cases are being advised on what to do in the event that they become ill."

The cases in Ireland come after the reporting of more than five hundred other confirmed cases of monkeypox in Europe, North America and many other countries worldwide over recent weeks.

The vast majority of these cases do not have a travel link to a country where monkeypox is endemic.

Many countries have reported that the cases are predominantly, but not exclusively, in men who self-identify as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men (gbMSM).

A multidisciplinary Incident Management Team was established by the HSE when the international alert was first raised and commenced activities to prepare for cases in Ireland.

The IMT will continue to actively monitor this evolving international situation. To assist in Ireland’s response, monkeypox has been made a notifiable disease. This means that medical practitioners (and laboratories) are required to notify the local Medical Officer of Health/Director of Public Health of monkeypox cases in Ireland.

It said that monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus. The virus is found in some animal populations in remote parts of Central and West Africa, and in the past has caused occasional limited outbreaks in local communities and travellers.

The cases being reported across multiple countries now are unusual because most of the cases do not have a link to travel to these parts of Africa.

There are two types of monkeypox: West African monkeypox and Congo Basin monkeypox. It is the milder, West African, type that is causing the current outbreak.

Monkeypox spreads through close contact, including contact with the skin rash of someone with monkeypox. People who closely interact with someone who is infectious are at greater risk for infection: this includes household members, sexual partners and healthcare workers.

The risk of spread within the community in general, is very low.

Symptoms of monkeypox virus infection include:

Itchy rash;

fever (>38.5C);

headache;

muscle aches;

backache;

swollen lymph nodes;

chills;

exhaustion.

The rash starts as raised red spots that quickly change into little blisters. It usually develops within one to three days of the start of the fever or other symptoms, but some people may only have a rash.

Sometimes the rash first appears on the face and spreads to the mouth, palms of the hands and soles of the feet. However, following sexual contact, the rash may be found initially in the anogenital areas. In the recent cases seen internationally, systemic symptoms have not always been a feature, and rash in the anogenital area may be the main symptom.

The rash goes through different stages before finally forming scabs which later fall off.

Monkeypox infection is usually a self-limiting illness and most people recover within weeks, although severe illness can occur in people with very weak immune systems, pregnant women and in very small babies. Severe illness and death outside Africa are unlikely.


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