Public health specialist Dr. Derval Igoe of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) has said that a management team has been set up to prepare for the “eventuality” of monkeypox arriving in Ireland.
Dr. Derval Igoe told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that “It is always better to be prepared”.
Dr. Igoe said, “Symptoms are usually mild and patients recover without medical intervention.”
“ The “flu-like” symptoms include a cough, swollen lymph glands, and a rash on the face and body which starts with spots, then blisters which then crust over and heal,” she explained.
First identified in monkeys, the disease typically spreads through close contact and has rarely spread outside Africa, so this series of cases has triggered concern.
Dr. Igoe said that cases that have arisen in Europe recently have no link to Africa, where the virus usually occurs, and people with the rare virus are presenting without the classic symptoms.
She also said that it’s extremely important for anyone with symptoms to isolate and identify their contacts. Cases can be detected with PCR tests and the virus is spread through close skin-to-skin contact or through droplets when someone is symptomatic, but anyone with concerns should contact their GP or sexual health clinic.
Dr. Igoe said with the current increase in cases seen across Europe, there have been no deaths and just two hospitalisations due to the virus.