Israel confirms first case of monkeypox

Surprising outbreak of a disease rarely seen outside of Africa.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Health Ministry officials confirmed Israel’s first case of monkeypox on Saturday.

The patient, whose name has not been released, is a man in his 30s who recently returned to Israel from a trip to western Europe. He is currently quarantined at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv.

Israeli Health Ministry’s Team of Epidemics Management is due to meet Saturday evening.

In the meantime, individuals who have recently entered the country and are experiencing fever and a blistering rash are urged to see a doctor.

European and American health authorities have identified a number of monkeypox cases in recent days, mostly in young men. It’s a surprising outbreak of a disease that rarely appears outside Africa.

Health officials around the world are keeping watch for more cases because, for the first time, the disease appears to be spreading among people who didn’t travel to Africa. They stress, however, that the risk to the general population is low.

Most patients only experience fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. People with more serious illness may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body.

The incubation period is from about five days to three weeks. Most people recover within about two to four weeks without needing to be hospitalized.

People exposed to the virus are often given one of several smallpox vaccines, which have been shown to be effective against monkeypox. Anti-viral drugs are also being developed.

Monkeypox can be fatal for up to one in 10 people and is thought to be more severe in children.

In Europe, infections have been reported in Britain, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

Associated Press contributed to this report.