First case of monkeypox confirmed in Northern Ireland

So far 78 cases have been detected across the UK.

The first case of monkeypox has been detected in Northern Ireland, it has been confirmed.

The Public Health Agency made the announcement on Thursday afternoon.

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 (IMT) 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."

So far 78 cases have been detected in other parts of the UK, with that number rising daily.

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Queen's University Virologist Dr Bamford said action will have to be taken to prevent widespread community transmission. “We don’t tend to have a lot of that vaccine so at the minute we are not going to rely on that to control any outbreaks of the virus. "We need to control it using traditional means. We need to figure out what is a bit different with this outbreak and can we control it in parts of the world outside of our shores. "The second thing is we need to be able to do is to track this virus as it spreads,” he said. Dr Bamford added: “Also, for those people affected they need to practice really good hygiene and isolation. We know these things worked for covid and they will work even better for this virus.” However, Dr Bamford said that “people are fatigued and don’t want to go back to those things. So on the flip side people might be less willing to get on board with these public health messages.”