Monkeypox has arrived in the Republic of Ireland, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has confirmed.
The first case of the disease on the island of Ireland was confirmed by northern health authorities earlier in the week and now a case has been diagnosed south of the border.
“We have a little over 200 cases [of monkeypox] reported in Europe,” Minister Do9nnelly told The Anton Savage Show.
“Thankfully a very, very small number of them have been hospitalised and I’m advised that that’s where people had underlying conditions [such as being] immunocompromised.
“We have a confirmed case as of yesterday in the east of the country and what the HSE has secured is third generation smallpox vaccine - that’s on its way in now.
“The department sought advice from NIAC on how to deploy them; we have that advice.”
The vaccines will be offered to healthcare workers who are caring for those with the disease and those who are high risk close contacts of people who have contracted monkeypox.
“Critically, it’s not airborne, it’s not something that is easily caught,” the Minister continued.
“Using the normal PPE and the normal procedures that trained clinicians would use, of course, that’s the main line of defence.”
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is related to smallpox and is usually spread by wild animals in Africa. In recent days Europe has seen a surge in cases of the disease, although the HSE has stressed that, “The risk of catching it in Ireland is very low.”
Symptoms take between five and 21 days to appear and include:
- a high temperature (38 degrees Celsius or higher)
- a headache
- muscle aches
- swollen glands
- shivering (chills)
Usually people recover within two to four weeks.
Main image: The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly outside National Midwifery Conference, 05-04-2022. Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews