Israel Says Second Man Suspected of Contracting Monkeypox in Europe

This 1997 image provided by the CDC during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
CDC via AP

Israel on Sunday said it had detected a second suspected case of monkeypox, a day after it confirmed a first patient with the rare disease.

The second suspected patient recently visited Western Europe, the Health Ministry said in a statement. The man, 27, is being treated in an isolated room at the Barzilai Medical Center in the southern city of Ashkelon, Israeli media reported.

He is a sailor who was working on a cargo ship that was docked at the nearby port city of Ashdod.

Health Ministry Director-General Nachman Ash emphasized that the two cases did mar the beginning of “another coronavirus.”

“These kinds of diseases break out every now and then,” he told Israeli radio.

“We are considering and intending to vaccinate mostly at-risk populations,” he said.

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz echoed Ash, saying: “This is not a pandemic, it’s nothing like coronavirus.” He added that his ministry was looking into procuring a few hundred vaccines for frontline medical staff treating potential patients.

Coronavirus commissioner Prof. Salman Zarka also reassured the public that the incidents were not cause for alarm: “We are talking about a virus that has light symptoms, known medications and vaccinations, and can only be transmitted in very close contact,” he told Kan public radio.

Up until the mid 1990s, Israeli army recruits received smallpox vaccinations, which partially protect against monkeypox. As a result, experts believe that a large part of the adult population in Israel may have some level of protection, the Times of Israel reported.

Monkeypox, an infectious disease that is usually endemic in parts of west and central Africa, has recently been detected in several European countries, the U.S., Canada, and Australia.

The virus can only be transmitted through close contact with skin lesions or respiratory droplets, and not from aerosols as is the case with the coronavirus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and infection and the U.K.’s Health Security Agency said they are looking into a range of cases including among individuals “who identify themselves as men who have sex with men.”

 

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