Israel Rules Out Monkeypox in Second Suspected Case

Israeli health officials feared the passenger, who returned from Europe, was carrying monkeypox

Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati
Head of the Institute of Microbiology of the German Armed Forces Roman Woelfel works in his laboraty in Munich, on Friday, after Germany has detected its first case of monkeypox.
Head of the Institute of Microbiology of the German Armed Forces Roman Woelfel works in his laboraty in Munich, on Friday, after Germany has detected its first case of monkeypox.Credit: CHRISTINE UYANIK/ REUTERS
Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati

A Health Ministry official ruled out a second case of the monkeypox in Israel, after the diagnosis of a man suspected to be infected with the virus determined he was not a carrier.

Earlier on Sunday, a 37-year-old man who has recently returned from Western Europe and showed mild symptoms compatible with the virus was sent into quarantine at the Barzilai Medical Center in the coastal city of Ashkelon, until his diagnosis determined he was not a carrier of the monkeypox.

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On Saturday the Health Ministry confirmed the first case of the virus in Israel. Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital said a man in his 30s who recently returned from Western Europe arrived at the emergency room with symptoms of the disease on Friday, and the tests turned out positive the following day.

He was admitted into quarantine once suspicion of the disease arose, and is currently in a good condition.

Israel's Health Ministry calls on any person entering Israel who experiences fever and a blistering rash to see a doctor.

Following the diagnosis of the first case, Israel's pandemic response team met Saturday for a situation assessment. Following the meeting, the Health Ministry said it will be looking into purchasing vaccines and the relevant medications as well as regulating testing procedures in preparation for a potential climb in infections.

In addition, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said in a statement: "We are monitoring new cases of monkeypox in the world and in Israel, but we need to calm down here as well. This is a disease—not an epidemic…The Health Ministry is prepared and knows how to provide a professional response to any situation. Awareness and caution — yes. Panic and horror scenarios — not at all."

During the discussion it was stressed that despite reports from Europe that many of the infected patients are homosexual men, the disease is in no way related to sexual preference and is not unique to any one sector of the public.

In the past week, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, U.S., Sweden and Canada all reported infections, mostly in young men. France, Germany, Belgium and Australia confirmed their first cases of monkeypox on Friday.

Monkeypox is milder than smallpox, and is accompanied by flu-like symptoms, including fever and chills, as well as a rash of blisters appearing on the face or genitals. It is a viral disease which has so far been endemic to mainly Africa and is known to be less contagious in human-to-human transmission.

Illness typically lasts between two and four weeks, with patients usually recovering on their own. The smallpox vaccine – which was routinely given in Israel until the 1980s – is 85 percent effective against the virus. Moreover, drugs that were initially developed for treatment of smallpox can be used to treat those suffering from monkeypox.

Israel's Health Ministry calls on any person entering Israel who experiences fever and a blistering rash to see a doctor.

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