Predictions of the arrival of monkeypox in Ireland by experts have proven to be true as health officials confirmed the first case in Northern Ireland on Thursday.
A brief is due to take place involving the Nothern Ireland Health Department as the patient is understood to be in hospital being treated for their symptoms.
Up to May 26, it is believed there have been a total of 79 cases reported in the UK, while Wales also reported its first case on Thursday.
READ MORE: Irish holidaymakers warned over ‘very serious’ infection that can be caught in hotels
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the symptoms of monkeypox in humans are similar to smallpox but are significantly milder.
The virus usually begins with fever, headache, muscle aches, and exhaustion.
However, the main difference between the symptoms of smallpox and monkeypox is that monkeypox causes lymph nodes to swell (lymphadenopathy) while smallpox does not.
The incubation period for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days.
The illness begins with:
- Muscle aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body.
Lesions progress through the following stages before falling off:
The illness typically lasts for 2−4 weeks. The CDC says “In Africa, monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 persons who contract the disease.”
The CDC also says there are a number of measures that can be taken to prevent infection with the monkeypox virus:
- Avoid contact with animals that could harbor the virus (including animals that are sick or that have been found dead in areas where monkeypox occurs)
- Avoid contact with any materials, such as bedding, that have been in contact with a sick animal
- Isolate infected patients from others who could be at risk for infection
- Practice good hand hygiene after contact with infected animals or humans. For example, washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Use personal protective equipment (PPE) when caring for patients
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