02 Oct 2022

No plans for Monkeypox unit at University Hospital Limerick following first local cases

First cases of Monkeypox confirmed in Mid West

There have been a small number of confirmed cases of Monkeypox in the Mid West

THE UL Hospitals group says it has no plans to open a dedicated unit to deal with Monkeypox following confirmation that a small number of cases have been detected in the region.

Less than five cases of the virus have been reported across Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary in the last number of weeks. The exact number is not being released for data protection reasons.

According to the most-recent data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre, there are currently 44 cases of the virus in Ireland with more than 6,900 cases confirmed in Europe, America and worldwide. 

In response to a query from Limerick Live, a spokesperson for UHL said anyone attending the Emergency Department with any signs or symptoms or Monkeypox must inform staff immediately so appropriate infection prevention and control measures can be taken.
"There are no plans to open a unit for Monkeypox at UHL however a dedicated clinical area is being identified within the hospital to assess patients who fit the criteria," he stated.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection which usually leads to a mild illness that lasts a few weeks. Some people with the virus can become very sick particularly those with a week immune system, young children and those who are pregnant. 

It is passed on through very close contact with someone who has the virus, via contact with their rash or coughs and sneezes. 

Sexual contact can also result in the spread. Anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, can catch the virus. 

Symptoms to be alert for include a new rash or blisters that can be on any part of the body particularly, the face, mouth, hands, feet, genitals or bum. 

Fever, headaches, swollen glands, aches and pains can also be symptoms. 

Symptomatic patients who have recently returned from west or central Africa or who have been in contact with a person with monkeypox should in the first instance contact their GP or STI Clinic.

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