Monkeypox cases in Ireland raise to 97 in a week

97 new cases of monkeypox have been reported in Ireland, according to the HPSC’s most recent data.

More than 25,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Europe, North America and other countries worldwide where it is not endemic.

The majority of confirmed cases in Ireland, according to the HPSC, are not related to travel from a nation where monkeypox is an endemic disease.

According to the World Health Organisation, the number of confirmed cases globally stands at 23,351 and 98% of those affected are male.

Many countries have reported that the cases are predominantly, but not exclusively, in men who have sex with men (MSM).

Dr Margaret Harris, a spokesperson for the World Health Organisation (WHO), said the virus was primarily transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, but it could be spread in other ways.

“It’s transmitted by close contact, so that’s skin to skin, it can be face to face, it can be mouth to mouth – it is sexually transmissible, that’s one of the ways in which it’s potentially transmitted but not, as far as we’ve seen in previous outbreaks, the main way.

“It’s something that anybody can get … you also have to look at things like bedding, clothing.”

She added that people with sores in their mouths could transmit the virus to others by coughing, sneezing, or talking.

Last month the WHO declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency – its highest alert category.

The government has announced plans to give the smallpox vaccine to people who are thought to be most at risk of getting monkeypox.

The vaccine will be offered in two doses, spaced 28 days apart, said health minister Stephen Donnelly.

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