Monkeypox ‘inevitable’ in Republic of Ireland, says deputy PM

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Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said that it was inevitable that Ireland would see a case of monkeypox (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said that it was inevitable that Ireland would see a case of monkeypox (Niall Carson/PA) (PA Wire)

The Irish deputy prime minister has said it is “inevitable” that monkeypox will be detected in the Republic of Ireland.

Leo Varadkar was speaking after health officials in Northern Ireland confirmed on Thursday that a case of monkeypox has been identified in the region.

The Tanaiste said: “We’re not aware of any cases in the Republic of Ireland as of yet but it’s almost inevitable – in fact, it is inevitable – that there will be cases in the Republic of Ireland.”

He said the HSE has set up a group to monitor the situation.

Cases of monkeypox are rare as the virus does not spread easily between people; therefore the risk to the Northern Ireland population is considered low

Dr Gillian Armstrong

Mr Varadkar added: “We don’t anticipate that this is going to be a public health emergency, like Covid, for example.”

The case of monkeypox in Northern Ireland is the first case confirmed on the island, which sees significant and unimpeded travel over the border between both jurisdictions.

“There are a number of outbreaks now around the world,” Mr Varadkar said.

“The HSE is monitoring the situation very closely and making sure that healthcare professionals are informed as to what the symptoms are. So if people do have monkeypox, then it can be identified quickly.”

The Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland confirmed the case there on Thursday.

Dr Gillian Armstrong, head of health protection at the PHA, said: “Following the detection of cases of monkeypox in England the PHA has been in regular contact with UKHSA regarding the situation and we established a local multidisciplinary incident management team to ensure that we are fully prepared for any potential risk to the population of Northern Ireland.

“The PHA has been working closely with trusts and GPs to raise awareness of the disease, and set up testing arrangements and clinical pathways.

“Cases of monkeypox are rare as the virus does not spread easily between people; therefore the risk to the Northern Ireland population is considered low.

“Appropriate public health actions are being taken and the PHA is working with UKHSA to investigate any potential links with UK cases and we will contact any potential close contacts to provide health information and advice.”

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