Over 100 cases of monkeypox virus have been detected in Ireland since the global outbreak began in May.
The Health Protection Surveillance Center (HPSC) has confirmed it has now been informed of 101 cases of the virus, up from 97 since last Wednesday.
The HPSC said that while “anyone can get monkeypox, most cases in Ireland continue to occur among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM)”.
“The cases in Ireland are part of an ongoing multi-country outbreak of monkeypox consisting of more than 30,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Europe, North America and many other countries worldwide where monkeypox is endemic,” the HPSC said in a statement.
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Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared outbreaks of monkeypox in several countries a public health emergency of international concern.
This statement provides recommendations for countries with monkeypox cases, such as Ireland, to strengthen their public health and clinical response to stop transmission, and emphasizes the importance of engaging affected communities.
Ireland’s National Immunization Advisory Committee (NIAC) has stated that the smallpox vaccine can be used to protect against monkeypox.
“Since the beginning of the monkeypox outbreak in several countries, the HSE has received limited supplies of smallpox vaccine and used it to respond to cases of monkeypox. The vaccine will be offered to close contacts after a risk assessment and also to some healthcare workers who may be at risk of exposure through their work,” the HPSC added.
“Niac has made further recommendations to the Secretary of Health regarding the groups of people who would benefit from vaccination to protect against monkeypox. Niac has recommended that individuals at high risk of infection, including gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) and others at high risk of unprotected exposure, be offered prophylactic vaccination prior to exposure.
“Currently vaccine stocks in Ireland and the EU are low and limited. The HSE is now working to review the Niac recommendation in consultation with stakeholders and are making plans to identify those most at risk and the best way to use our vaccine stockpile. Our goal is to ensure that vulnerable people are offered a vaccine as soon as possible and that we are providing the best public health protection with the supplies available. Ireland, along with other EU countries, is actively exploring options to increase our medium to long-term supply of vaccines.”
Monkeypox is usually a “self-limiting disease,” meaning it goes away on its own and most people recover within weeks without needing any specific treatment.
However, it can cause serious illnesses in people with very weak immune systems, in pregnant women and in very small babies.
For every case reported in Ireland, HSE public health teams are tracing close contacts of people while they were infectious.
The virus spreads through close contact, including contact with a rash on a person’s skin with the virus. People who interact closely with an infectious person are at higher risk of infection, including household members, sexual partners, and healthcare workers. The risk of spread within the community in general is very low.
Symptoms of the virus include an itchy rash, fever, headache, muscle and back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/monkeypox-cases-in-ireland-pass-100-mark-41903666.html Monkeypox cases in Ireland pass 100 mark