A second case of monkeypox has been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland, the Health Service Executive (HSE) has announced.
It comes after the country’s first case of the virus was reported to the Health Protection Surveillance Center on Friday, with the person diagnosed based in the east of the country.
In a word
The Health Protection Surveillance Center said the second case of monkeypox detected here “was not unexpected” following the presence of the virus in the UK and across Europe.
Public health officials are now tracking those who had close contact with this latest case, while the patient was infectious, the HSE said in a statement.
He said those who were in contact with both cases are being told what to do in case they fall ill.
However, the HSE said no further information on either case would be provided, for reasons of confidentiality.
The cases in Ireland come after more than two hundred other confirmed cases of monkeypox were reported in Europe, North America and many other countries around the world in recent weeks.
The vast majority of these cases do not have a travel link to a country where monkeypox is endemic. The HSE said many countries have reported cases are “predominantly, but not exclusively”, in men who identify as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men (gbHSM).
A multi-disciplinary Incident Management Team (IMT) was established by the HSE when the international alert was first raised and commenced case preparation activities in Ireland.
The ITM will continue to actively follow this evolution of the international situation. To help Ireland’s response, monkeypox has become a notifiable disease. This means doctors (and laboratories) are required to notify the local Medical Officer of Health/Director of Public Health of cases of monkeypox in Ireland.
What is monkey pox?
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the 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 outbreaks among locals and travellers.
The cases reported in several countries are now unusual as most cases are unrelated to travel to these parts of Africa.
There are two types of monkeypox: the West African monkeypox and the Congo Basin monkeypox. It is the milder type, that of West Africa, which is at the origin of the current epidemic.
Monkeypox is spread through close contact, including contact with the rash of someone who has monkeypox. People who interact closely with an infectious person are at greater risk of infection: this includes household members, sexual partners and healthcare workers. The risk of spread within the general community is very low.