Team set up to prepare Ireland for monkeypox – HSE

The Chair of the HSE’s Monkeypox Incident Management Team has said it is possible that cases of monkeypox will be seen in Ireland and an incident management team has been established to ensure that the country is fully prepared for that eventuality.

Dr Derval Igoe, Interim Director of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, said cases that are currently been seen in Europe are arising without a link to Africa, where cases ordinarily occur.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, she said that people are also presenting without the classic symptoms.

Monkeypox is a viral disease that normally causes mild flu-like symptoms and a rash that eventually crusts over and heals, Dr Igoe explained.

“There are no links to previous cases. It’s not necessarily the classical symptoms of monkey pox,” she said.

“And so that’s what has been looked at in real detail now and surveillance is underway in all countries in the world.”

Dr Igoe said cases, which are detected using PCR tests, are spread through close skin-to-skin contact or through droplets when someone is symptomatic.

She said it is important for anyone with symptoms to isolate and for their contacts to be identified, adding that anyone with concerns should contact their GP or sexual health clinic.

She said the understanding of the disease is that it is spread by people who are symptomatic and that it is generally mild.

“Within the current increase that we have seen, there have been no deaths and there have only been two hospitalisations worldwide due to an illness,” she said.