At least eight countries in Europe have reported cases of the rare the monkeypox virus, mostly among men who presented for diagnosis at STD clinics.
As of today, 20 cases had been reported in the United Kingdom, which declared the outbreak an “emergency.” France, Germany and Belgium have all confirmed cases of the virus as well. Spain and Portugal confirmed cases on Wednesday, while infected individuals also turned up in Sweden and Italy.
The US reported its first case earlier this week, in a man from Massachusetts who had recently traveled to Canada. Canada itself has reported two confirmed and 17 suspected cases, and the disease has been reported as far afield as Australia.
Today, an Israeli man has been hospitalized in Tel Aviv becoming the country’s first patient with suspected case of the rare virus.
The man in his 30s had return from a trip to Western Europe, before testing positive for a new virus. The patient is reported to be in good condition and was in isolation and being monitored at Ichilov Hospital.
The Israeli Health Ministry confirmed that it was taking precautions against the spread of the virus. The ministry has asked Israelis returning from abroad with a fever or a blistering rash to contact their doctors.
Monkeypox initially appears as flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and exhaustion, before a chickenpox-like rash with pustules appears on the hands and face. It resembles smallpox and chickenpox, with symptoms manifesting within one to two weeks after infection. Those infected typically recover within a few weeks.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reportedly held an emergency meeting today on the subject of monkeypox, which was aimed at getting to the bottom of how the disease was spreading from its native West Africa despite most cases being found in people who had not recently traveled to the region.