Health service prepared for potential monkeypox outbreak

The HSE chief executive has said the health service is prepared if there is an outbreak of monkeypox here.
Health service prepared for potential monkeypox outbreak

James Cox

The HSE chief executive has said the health service is prepared if there is an outbreak of monkeypox here.

Global cases of the rare virus have risen sharply in recent weeks and the first case on the island of Ireland was confirmed yesterday.

Paul Reid said the plans to deal with any outbreak here are quite advanced.

"We've established an incident management team which would have all the specialists involved. We are obviously monitoring surveillance all across Europe, and indeed the first case that's arrived in the North, we have direct contact with them."

He added: "We have given direct communications out to all of our services to strengthen their awareness of it and the whole approach we are taking the public will be familiar with; create awareness, identify cases, immediately consider contact tracing, breaking the chain [of transmission]."

Meanwhile, an immunologist doesn't think the Republic should be very concerned monkeypox has arrived on the island.

University College Cork Professor of Immunovirology Liam Fanning said he will not be surprised if it arrives in the Republic in the next few days and weeks.

Symptoms

Prof Fanning said: "Again we have to depend on our colleagues in public health to advise the individuals who are infected as to what their symptoms might be, also to reach out to their close contacts.

"To say 'you need to be aware that these are the possible symptoms, if you start seeing little pimples appearing on your body, hands and face particularly, sometimes on the groin, that you need to pick up your phone and contact your healthcare provider or GP.'"

Speaking yesterday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said it is "inevitable" there will be monkeypox cases in the Republic.

“We’re not aware of any cases in the Republic of Ireland as of yet but it’s almost inevitable – in fact, it is inevitable – that there will be cases in the Republic of Ireland.”

Mr Varadkar added: “We don’t anticipate that this is going to be a public health emergency, like Covid, for example.”

 

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