Israel’s Health Ministry Staff for Management of Pandemics was set to meet Saturday night to discuss the possibility of an outbreak of monkeypox in the country.
The first case of monkeypox was identified in Israel this weekend, according to Ynet.
LGBTQ health experts were invited to the Health Ministry meeting because monkeypox has broken out particularly in the gay community.
The Israeli patient is a 30-year-old man hospitalized at Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Medical Center who returned from a visit to Europe, the Israel Institute for Biological Research confirmed. He is being treated in an isolated unit and on Saturday night was reported in good condition.
“At this stage there is no concern of a pandemic like that of COVID-19 but we must act in a focused and cautious manner,” Dr. Arnon Shachar, a member of the Health Ministry team, said.
Monkeypox is a rare disease that produces a rash of skin lesions similar to chickenpox and smallpox along with a fever, headache, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and in some cases, shortness of breath.
The incubation period is about 21 days, and symptoms can last from two to four weeks.
The first human case of monkeypox was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There are two strains of the virus, the most common of which originated in Western Africa and which has a one percent fatality rate. The second, originating from Central Africa, holds a 10 percent fatality rate.
Thus far, 80 cases of the virus have been reported in 13 countries worldwide, including nine European countries, Canada, Australia and the United States, according to the World Health Organization. Public health agencies in Europe have confirmed cases in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and Sweden.
The first case of the disease in the UK, which now has 20 cases, was reported on May 7 in a patient who had recently traveled to Nigeria.
One case has been reported in New York and another in Massachusetts.
Israel’s Health Ministry has asked that anyone who develops a fever and rash shortly after returning from abroad contact medical personnel.