Close to 100 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Ireland

There have not been any deaths, although 10 of the 97 people were hospitalised.
Close to 100 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Ireland

Kenneth Fox

There have now been 97 cases of monkeypox identified in Ireland, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) says cases worldwide stand at 23,351.

As the Irish Examiner reports, the virus has been linked to eight deaths globally, including some where encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, occurred.

A further 12 cases were reported here to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HSPC). There have not been any deaths, although 10 of the 97 people were hospitalised.

The latest WHO report shows 96 cases reported worldwide are among children under 17 including 25 children under four. Overall 98 per cent of cases are among men.

It notes this is the first time cases and sustained chains of transmission have been reported in countries without direct or immediate epidemiological links to areas of West or Central Africa where the disease is endemic.

Skin contact

The virus is now in 83 countries. Most reported cases are in Europe, although reports from America are expected to increase as it has been declared a notifiable disease requiring reporting.

WHO technical lead on monkeypox, Dr Rosamund Lewis, said it can be transmitted in several ways including skin contact, talking at very close quarters, kissing (if one person has lesions in the mouth), contact with infected bed-clothes or in a household setting.

She could not yet confirm deaths reported in Spain, Brazil and India linked to encephalitis as they are waiting on notifications.

She said: The way it is spreading in this global outbreak has never been seen before, so we are seeing new manifestations of illness.

“There can be the occasional condition such as encephalitis which we had reports in the media over the last few days. This is very tragic, it is not totally surprising.”

The WHO is aware some of those who died had underlying conditions, she said, but others did not. She also warned vaccines being used against monkeypox need two weeks to take effect.

At the same briefing, WHO expert on HIV, hepatitis and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) Andy Seale said there is “a lot of misinformation” around this virus.

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