23/05/2022

PHA Prepares For Possible Monkeypox Cases

The NI Public Health Agency has established a multidisciplinary incident management team (IMT) to respond to potential cases of monkeypox.

There are currently no confirmed cases of monkeypox in Northern Ireland. The PHA is in regular contact with UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) regarding the situation.

Dr Gillian Armstrong, Head of Health Protection at the PHA, said: "Monkeypox is usually a mild self-limiting illness and most people recover within a few weeks.

"The infection can be passed on through close contact with someone with the infection, or contact with clothing or linens used by a person who has monkeypox.
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"However, the virus does not usually spread easily between people and the risk to the Northern Ireland population is considered low."

Anyone who thinks they have been at risk of exposure with unusual rashes or lesions on any part of their body, especially their genitalia, should contact their local healthcare provider or GUM clinic without delay if they have concerns.

A notable proportion of recent cases in England and Europe have been found in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, so the PHA is particularly encouraging them to be alert to the symptoms and seek help if concerned. We can assure them their call or discussion will be treated sensitively and confidentially.

Clinicians should be alert to individuals presenting with rashes without a clear alternative diagnosis and should contact specialist services for advice.

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