Israel rules out monkeypox in a second patient suspected of having a rare disease

Israel rules out monkeypox in a second patient suspected of having a rare disease

A senior health ministry official said Sunday that a second suspected case of monkeypox has been identified as not a rare disease.

The announcement came a day after the first case in Israel was officially confirmed.

Dr Sharon Alroy Press, chief of public services, has ruled out monkeypox hours after her department said it was investigating a suspected case of a man who had recently visited Western Europe.

According to Channel 12 news, the man was hospitalized and isolated at Barzilai Medical Center in the coastal city of Ashkelon.

The 27-year-old is reported to be in good condition.

Public broadcaster Kan said the man was a sailor who had arrived on board a cargo ship docked in the port of Ashdod.

Illustrative: This 1997 photograph provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows the right arm and torso of a patient, whose skin showed a number of lesions due to what was an active case of monkeypox. (CDC via AP)

On Sunday morning, the Palestinian Authority said that no cases of monkeypox were detected in the areas of the West Bank under its administration.

“There is follow-up with those coming from abroad,” Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Kamal Al-Shakhrah said in a statement.

Monkeypox is a viral infection that appeared in Europe and North America, as well as in Israel. Symptoms of the rare disease include fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, fatigue, and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

Health Ministry Director-General Nahman Asch stressed on Sunday that “it is not another coronavirus.”

“These kinds of diseases spread every now and then,” he told Radio 103.

“We are studying and intend to vaccinate the most vulnerable populations,” he said, but noted that there was no need to vaccinate the entire population.

Until 1996, conscripts in the IDF received smallpox vaccinations, which partially protect against monkeypox. It is therefore believed that a large part of the adult population in Israel may enjoy some level of protection.

Health Minister Director General Nahman Ashe speaks during a meeting at the Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, October 24, 2021 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

The national coronavirus czar, Salman Zarqa, told Kan public radio that monkeypox was “a much milder disease and much less contagious than the coronavirus.”

Zarqa said that existing vaccinations and treatments are effective against diseases.

The first suspected case in Israel was reported on Friday and confirmed during a meeting of health officials on Saturday night.

It was found in a 30-year-old man who had recently returned to Israel from abroad. He is in isolation at Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv and is in good condition.

The Israel Centers for Disease Control’s committee concluded its deliberations on Saturday without making any major decisions, but vowed to monitor the disease.

Dr. Boaz Raz, chair of the committee, said he did not expect a large-scale outbreak of the disease.

According to Channel 13, Raz said, “This is not an epidemic, but we need to raise public awareness.”

The Ministry of Health has called on everyone who has returned from abroad with a fever and rash to contact the doctor.

Illustrative: Disposal bio bags fill a trash can in Richmond, Virginia (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The Health Ministry estimates that there will be dozens of more cases in Israel, but there is no danger to the general public and that the disease will not turn into a pandemic, Kan reported on Saturday.

The ministry stressed that the disease is usually mild and there are few cases of serious illness or death.

The ministry also said it was “considering equipping itself with vaccines and related medicines”, as well as preparing for further diagnoses.

Channel 13 said that health experts discussed at the meeting giving vaccines to people after they were infected, which at that time could avoid a dangerous situation.

This 1997 image provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while investigating an outbreak of monkeypox, which occurred in the former Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), depicts the dorsal surfaces of the hands of a monkeypox patient, who was displaying the characteristic rash during recovery. . (CDC via AP)

“This is a very different infection from the coronavirus, and it is much less contagious,” Galia Rahaf, head of the infectious diseases unit at Sheba Medical Center and a member of the committee, told Channel 13.

She said it did not spread through particles in the air like COVID-19, which makes it less transmissible.

The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions or droplets from an infected person, as well as through shared items such as bedding or towels.

Medical experts in the LGBTQ community participated in the CDC committee meeting. The World Health Organization said it was investigating the fact that many of the cases reported in other countries were of gay or bisexual people.

He urged Israeli experts to avoid the subject so as not to stigmatize the disease. They also called for preparations ahead of next month’s gay pride events, which are expected to attract 100,000 participants, including many from abroad.

Health experts also discussed whether medical staff in close contact with infected patients, or those at risk and those with compromised immune systems, should be vaccinated.

Top European health officials warned on Friday that cases could accelerate in the coming months, as the virus has spread to at least eight European countries. The World Health Organization has confirmed 92 cases of monkeypox in 12 countries.

In recent weeks, cases have been detected in Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden as well as in the United States, Canada and Australia, raising fears that the virus may spread.

So far, no one has died during the outbreak. The World Health Organization estimates that the disease is fatal in up to 1 in 10 people, but smallpox vaccines are preventative and some antiviral drugs are being developed.

Monkeypox is usually cleared after two to four weeks, according to the World Health Organization.

Aaron Boxerman and AFP contributed to this report.

2022-05-22 12:00:00

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