Second case of monkeypox confirmed in Republic of Ireland

After the confirmation of the first case, HSE said it is "not unexpected" that a second case of monkeypox was confirmed in Ireland.

The second case of monkeypox was detected in Ireland. In the photo, a doctor analysing a sample with a microscope.
Image: Pexels

Yesterday, May 30, the second case of monkeypox was confirmed in the Republic of Ireland after being investigated in the past few days.

The first case of monkeypox was notified to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) on May 28, and now this second case in comes as no surprise. It “was not unexpected following the presence of monkeypox cases in the UK and many European countries,” said a spokesperson of the HSE.

In a statement released after this second case, the HSE informed that they are following up with those who were in contact with the case and they are advising them on what to do in case they become ill. HSE also stated that they wouldn’t provide further information about either of the cases for confidentiality reasons.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 250 cases have been reported in 23 countries with no previous history of monkeypox. Indeed, the peculiarity of these new cases is that they do not have a link to travel in parts of the world where monkeypox is endemic, such as Central and West Africa.

WHO top expert on monkeypox Dr. Rosamund Lewis, said she does not expect the cases to turn into another pandemic, but that it is important to use caution as there are still many unknowns about the disease.

“At the moment, we are not concerned about a global pandemic,” she said. “We are concerned that individuals may acquire this infection through high-risk exposure if they don’t have the information they need to protect themselves.”

Her comment refers to how media in many countries have reported on cases of monkeypox by associating them with gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men since several of the cases were detected among this group. However, experts have stressed that it was accidental that the disease first entered this network and that it can affect other groups of people.

Indeed, the disease is spread through close contact, which means that anyone who interacts with someone who is infectious is at risk of getting the virus. This certainly includes sexual partners, but also family members and other groups, such as healthcare workers.

Monkeypox symptoms include an itchy rash, fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. If you detect any rash on your skin, you should immediately contact your GP or a local sexual health clinic, as you will likely need to get tested.

To know more about the disease, check out this guide created by HIV Ireland’s initiative MPOWER.

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