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28 cases of monkeypox have been detected in Ireland

All 28 patients with monkeypox are men and the majority are aged between 25 and 44.

Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE HEALTH PROTECTION Surveillance Centre has been notified of 28 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Ireland since the beginning of an outbreak across a number of countries last month.

The total case figure in Ireland has increased by 14 since last week and represents the largest week-on-week increase in Ireland since the start of the outbreak.

All 28 patients with monkeypox are men and the majority are aged between 25 and 44.

The HPSC said these cases are not unexpected considering the presence of monkeypox cases in the UK and many European countries.

For each case, HSE Public Health is following up with those who had close contact with a case while they were infectious. Public health risk assessments have been undertaken and those who were in contact with cases are being advised on what to do in the event that they become ill.

A surge of monkeypox cases has been detected since May outside of the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic. Most of the new cases have been in Western Europe.

The WHO’s Europe office and the EU health agency ECDC said that 2,746 cases have been recorded in Europe alone as of Tuesday.

Some 84%of the cases have been found in Europe, with the most cases being reported from Britain, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Canada and France.

A committee of World Health Organisation experts met today to discuss the monkeypox outbreak and decide whether it constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).

A PHEIC is the highest alarm that the WHO can sound, under the International Health Regulations – the legally-binding framework agreed by 196 countries on handling public health events that could cross borders.

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Besides providing a PHEIC assessment, the committee members are set to give the WHO and its member states advice on how to better prevent the spread of the disease and manage their response.

There have been six PHEIC declarations since 2009, the last being for Covid-19 in 2020.

Today’s meeting was held in private and a statement on the outcome is expected tomorrow.

- With reporting from AFP.

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