Israel’s Health Ministry Rules of Monkeypox in Second Suspected Case
On Sunday, a top official of the Health Ministry said that the second suspected case of monkeypox had turned out to be something else and not a rare disease. The announcement from the Health Ministry came a day after they had confirmed the first case officially. Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preisruled out the disease within hours of the Health Ministry saying that they were investigating the case of a man who had recently returned from Western Europe. Media reports indicated that the man was kept in isolation in Ashkelon and was staying at the Barzilai Medical Center. According to reports, the 27-year-old was a sailor and was in good condition.
He had come to Israel on a cargo ship that was docked in Ashdod. On Sunday morning, the Palestinian Authority said that they had not come across any monkeypox cases in areas of the West Bank that are under their administration. Kamal al-Shakhra, the spokesperson for the PA Health Ministry, said that they were following up with people coming from abroad. A viral infection, monkeypox is a rare disease that has sprung up in North America and Europe and has also made its way to Israel. The symptoms include chills, fever, exhaustion, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches and a rash on the face and hands, similar to that of chickenpox.
Nachman Ash, the Director-General of the Health Ministry, said on Sunday that this disease should not be considered another coronavirus. He stated that such kind of diseases do happen every now and then. He went on to say that they were considering vaccinating the population at risk, but there was no need for vaccinating everyone. Smallpox vaccinations were administered to IDF recruits up until 1996 and these could protect against monkeypox partially. Hence, it is widely believed that a large portion of the population in Israel may already be protected against the disease.
Salman Zarka, the national coronavirus czar, said that not only is monkeypox milder than COVID-19, but it is also less infectious. He added that existing treatments and vaccinations are quite effective against it. The first suspected case of the disease had been reported on Friday morning in Israel and on Saturday night, it was officially confirmed in a meeting of health officials. The confirmed case was a 30 year old man who was isolated in Tel Aviv at the Ichilov Hospital and had returned from abroad recently.
On Saturday, the deliberations of the Israel Center for Disease Control committee were concluded, but they did not make any major decisions. However, they did say that the disease would be monitored. The committee’s head, Dr. Boaz Razsaid that they were not expecting the outbreak to be widespread. He said that creating public awareness was necessary, but it couldn’t be considered an epidemic. The Health Ministry announced that anyone returning from abroad and suffering from fever and a rash should get in touch with a doctor. They believe that dozens more cases are likely to surface, but the disease will not turn into an epidemic.