Five new cases of mpox have been reported in Ireland, the first since last April, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) confirmed.
According to a report published by the HPSC on September 6, four of the new mpox cases detected in Ireland are already confirmed, while one is probable. Additionally, they have all been recorded among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (gbMSM) who were mostly unvaccinated.
Since May last year, when the first cases were detected in countries where mpox is not endemic, around 90,000 confirmed cases and 152 mpox deaths have been reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). As explained in the HPSC’s report, “Case numbers peaked in July to August 2022, followed by a steady decline until March 2023”.
“Approximately 100 new confirmed cases per week have been reported globally since then; numbers of cases are rising again slightly in recent weeks, mainly in China and Western Pacific countries; small clusters of cases are being seen in some European countries,” the report added.
In Ireland, the community engagement campaign led by MPOWER and the vaccination efforts proved very successful in controlling the mpox outbreak and were praised by WHO. More than 5,300 people at risk of infection were fully vaccinated in the country, with more than 11,000 doses of the vaccine administered.
⚠️ 5 cases of mpox notified in gbMSM in Ireland, mostly unvaxxed.
As cases persist globally, potential for outbreaks in our community remains.
Even though cases are low – getting fully vaxxed remains very important!
— Adam Shanley (@Adlers1) September 6, 2023
Despite this, MPOWER continues to encourage the community to be cautious, as mpox could still represent a problem. “Mpox hasn’t gone away,” the organisation’s statement on the new cases reads. “We’re still seeing a small but persistent number of new cases globally. As long as new cases occur, the potential for new outbreaks in our community remains.
“Even though case numbers are relatively low in Ireland, getting fully vaccinated is still really important,” the statement continues. “Vaccination reduces the risk of getting mpox, and if infection occurs in a vaccinated person, it is likely to be a lot less severe.”
First and second doses of the vaccine continue to be available in sexual health clinics in Dublin and Galway. Find more information on how to book an appointment for an mpox vaccine here.
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