There have been two more confirmed cases of monkeypox in Ireland.
The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) says it has now been notified of four confirmed cases here.
However it says this was "not unexpected" following the presence of cases in the UK and many European countries.
It says public health is following up those who had close contact with each case while they were infectious.
"Public health risk assessments have been undertaken, and those who were in contact with the cases are being advised on what to do in the event that they become ill", it adds.
The cases in Ireland come after the reporting of more than 500 others in Europe, North America and other countries over recent weeks.
The vast majority of cases do not have a travel link to a country where monkeypox is endemic.
The HPSC says many countries that have reported the cases are predominantly - but not exclusively - in men who identify as gay, bisexual or other Men who have Sex with Men (MSM).
A multidisciplinary incident management team has already been set up by the HSE.
Monkeypox has been made a notifiable disease - meaning medical practitioners have to notify authorities of monkeypox cases in Ireland.
The virus spreads through close contact, including contact with the skin rash of someone with monkeypox.
People who closely interact with someone who is infectious are at greater risk for infection.
This includes household members, sexual partners and healthcare workers.
The risk of spread within the community, in general, is very low.
Symptoms of monkeypox virus infection include:
- itchy rash
- fever (>38.50C)
- muscle aches
- swollen lymph nodes
Meanwhile the World Health Organisation (WHO) says Europe's monkeypox outbreak is a "rapidly evolving event" which will spread more widely in the community if action is not taken.
Dr Catherine Smallwood of the WHO's European emergencies team says they are seeing "quite rapid ongoing spread."
Although mass gatherings present monkeypox with opportunities to spread, festivals are a perfect opportunity to raise awareness, she says, adding: "We can really use those events to provide targeted information and advice to people."
While containing the outbreak may be possible given the virus spreads much more slowly than airborne pathogens like COVID, the number of infections already out there means it will not be easy.
"It's been so widely distributed, cases are not linked together and we don't have a single chain of transmission," Dr Smallwood says,
As monkeypox can be spread through any form of close physical contact, the assumption is that as cases continue to grow monkeypox will spread more widely.
A main focus, according to the WHO, should be festivalgoers as the summer approaches.
But it has ruled out bans on mass gatherings as was seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"To do so would be completely counterproductive," Dr Smallwood adds.
Additional reporting: IRN