Second confirmed case of monkeypox identified in Ireland
Public Health is now following up on those who had close contact with the cases while they were infectious.
The HSE has revealed that a second case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Ireland.
This follows the health service stating at the weekend that Ireland's first confirmed case of the virus was identified on Friday night in the east of the country.
The HSE has said that the two cases were not unexpected due to the presence of monkeypox cases in the UK and many European countries.
"For each case, Public Health is following up on those who had close contact with the case while they were infectious," it added.
"In order to maintain patient confidentiality, no further information about the cases will be provided.
"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."
The cases in Ireland come after the reporting of more than 200 other confirmed cases of monkeypox in Europe, North America and many other countries worldwide over recent weeks.
"The vast majority of these cases do not have a travel link to a country where monkeypox is endemic," the HSE stated.
A multidisciplinary Incident Management Team (IMT) was established by the HSE when the international alert for the virus was first raised and commenced activities to prepare for cases in Ireland.
The health service said the IMT will continue to actively monitor the evolving international situation.
Monkeypox is a rare disease that occurs primarily in remote parts of Central and West Africa.
There are two types of the virus, West African monkeypox and Congo Basin monkeypox, and it is the milder West African type that is causing the current outbreak.
The HSE has said monkeypox is usually a self-limiting illness and that most people recover within weeks but that severe illness can occur in people with very weak immune systems, pregnant women and in very small babies.
However, it also added that cases of severe illness and death outside of Africa are "unlikely".
"Monkeypox spreads through close contact, including contact with the skin rash of someone with monkeypox," the HSE said.
"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 include:
- Itchy rash
- Fever (>38.50C)
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
The rash starts as raised red spots that quickly change into little blisters and usually develops within one to three days of the start of the fever or other symptoms.
That said, some people may only have a rash. Sometimes the rash first appears on the face and spreads to the mouth, palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
However, following sexual contact, the rash may be found initially in the anogenital areas.
In the recent cases seen internationally, systemic symptoms have not always been a feature and a rash in the anogenital area may be the main symptom.
The rash goes through different stages before finally forming scabs which later fall off.
While anyone regardless of their sexuality can get monkeypox, the HSE has said many of the cases in this multi-country outbreak of the virus are in men who self-identify as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men (gbMSM).
"Monkeypox rashes can resemble some sexually transmitted diseases, including herpes and syphilis, which may explain why many of the initial cases were picked up at sexual health clinics," it stated.
"As the virus spreads through close contact, the HSE is advising those who self-identify as gbMSM (especially if they have undertaken international travel in the past month), to be alert to any unusual rashes or vesicular lesions on any part of their (or their partner’s) body, especially their genitalia.
"If they do notice any such changes, they should contact their local STI Clinic or their General Practitioner (GP) for advice."