Northern Ireland news

All suspected cases of monkeypox must be reported – chief medical officer

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said: “I think the numbers will be much higher than we’re actually reporting"
Rebecca Black, PA

Suspected cases of monkeypox must be reported to the Public Health Agency, Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer has said.

Monkeypox was deemed a notifiable disease from Monday June 7.

This means that medical practitioners are required to share information with the Public Health Agency if they are aware that a person they are attending has monkeypox or if they have reasonable grounds for suspecting so.

On Monday, 302 infections had been confirmed in the UK.

Chief Medical Officer Sir Michael McBride said cases of the disease remain rare.

“The Public Health Agency has been working closely with Trusts and GPs to raise awareness of the disease and this move formalises that arrangement,” he said.

The department of health says the virus can be passed on through close person-to-person contact, or contact with items used by a person who has monkeypox.

They have also described the disease as self-limiting, and that most people will recover within a few weeks.

Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

Anyone who thinks they have been at risk of exposure should limit their contact with others and speak to their GP or GUM clinic without delay. People are advised to phone first ahead of a visit to a healthcare facility.

Find out more at nidirect.gov.uk/conditions/monkeypox.

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