Number of Irish monkeypox cases rises to 101

This is an increase of four cases from Wednesday 3 August.

THE HEALTH PROTECTION Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has been notified of 101 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Ireland as of Saturday.

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 HPSC said.

This is an increase of four cases from Wednesday 3 August.

More than 30,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Europe, North America and other countries worldwide where it is not endemic.

The HPSC has said that the majority of confirmed cases in Ireland are not linked to travel from a country where monkeypox is endemic.

Many countries have reported that the cases are predominantly, but not exclusively, in men who self-identify as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men (gbMSM).

Among all 101 cases notified to date, all cases are male, and have a median age of 36 years (range 19 – 65 years).

Ten cases have been hospitalised; four cases were admitted for clinical care related to Monkeypox infection, two admitted for isolation purposes only, and information on the reason for admission for the other four is still awaited.

68 of the 101 are being treated at hospitals in or near Dublin.

On 28 July Spain recorded its second monkeypox-related death, bringing to three the number of fatalities linked to the current outbreak.

On the same day Brazil also announced what was believed to be their first death related to the virus

A Fine Gael senator said last week that the government needs a “robust strategy” to be implemented to tackle monkeypox.

Senator Jerry Buttimer has proposed a meeting of public health officials, sexual health workers, and “relevant health groups in order to protect those most vulnerable to the virus”.

Senator Buttimer said “as cases slowly climb, it is crucial that we are preventative in our actions”.

He also welcomed Heath Minister Stephen Donnelly’s review of the NIAC advice in relation to vaccination.

In late July, Minister Donnelly announced plans to extend the use of the smallpox vaccine for individuals at high risk of monkeypox infection.

However, Senator Buttimer called on the Department to now “consider how we can increase medium to long-term supply of vaccines”, adding: “We understand that there is a shortage of vaccine supplies in Europe but ideally we need a timeframe for the vaccination rollout here.”

The Fine Gael Senator says called for engagement with “those most at risk of contracting the virus” while also being “conscious not to stigmatise any one community”.

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