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Fitness & Health

01st Jun 2022

WHO issues monkeypox warning ahead of festival season

Sarah McKenna Barry

There have been two confirmed cases of the virus in Ireland.

The World Health Organisation has issued a warning to festival-goers regarding monkeypox ahead of the summer festival season.

Dr Hans Henri Kluge, the WHO’s regional director for Europe, has said that some of the recent cases have been linked to large parties and events.

As Metro reports, Dr Kluge said: “As new patients present every day, investigations into past cases show that the outbreak in our region was certainly under way as early as mid-April.

“Based on the case reports to date, this outbreak is currently being transmitted through social networks connected largely through sexual activity, primarily involving men who have sex with men.

He continued: “Rapid, amplified transmission has occurred in the context of the recent lifting of pandemic restrictions on international travel and events.”

In a recent update on the WHO website, meanwhile, under the heading of Contact Identification, the following guidance was issued:

“Case-patients can be prompted to identify contacts across different contexts, including their household, intimate partners and sexual contacts, as well as events and social gatherings where extended networks of individuals may engage in activities involving physical contact that may put participants at risk, festivals, sports, bars or restaurants and other gathering places, transportation or travel in a closed vehicle, health care (including laboratory exposure), the workplace, houses of worship, school/nursery, and any other recalled interactions.

“Attendance lists and, passenger manifests, for example, can be further used to identify contacts.”

It’s important to note that while some gay and bisexual men have been affected by monkeypox, the virus is spread through close contact, and people of all genders and sexuality are at risk.

So far, there have been two confirmed cases of monkeypox in Ireland, but case numbers are higher in other parts of Europe. In the UK, for instance, there have been 190 confirmed cases of monkeypox.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention defines Monkeypox as a rare disease that is caused by infection with monkeypox virus. Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backaches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion. Within one to three days, the patient typically develops a rash which begins on the face before spreading elsewhere.

It was first discovered among colonies of monkeys in 1958, and the first human case was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

At a press conference last week, the WHO’s lead on emerging diseases described the situation as “containable”.

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