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Israel, Switzerland confirms monkeypox cases amid global spread

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New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Israel and Switzerland have become the latest countries to confirm cases of monkeypox virus, taking the total number of nations to 14.

Israel’s Ministry of Health announced that a man has been confirmed of monkeypox infection, while another is being suspected.

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The unidentified man in his 30s had returned from a trip to Western Europe. He was last reported in stable condition but was being kept in quarantine.

“This is a disease, not a pandemic,” tweeted Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, adding that the Health Ministry is tracking the spread of the disease.

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“This is a known disease with — usually — light symptoms that is not similar in any way to the coronavirus,” he added.

The suspected man is 27 years old and had also recently returned from a trip to Western Europe and is currently being tested for monkeypox, Israeli media reported. He is being treated at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon and is in mild condition.

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The Health ministry has called people who returned from abroad and developed fever and a rash to contact their doctor.

A first case was also confirmed in Switzerland in Canton of Bern, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) said in a tweet.

The Canton in a statement said “as far as is known, the affected person came into contact with the virus abroad. The sick person is receiving outpatient treatment and is in isolation at home”.

Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that at least 92 monkeypox virus cases have been confirmed in 12 countries, including the US, Canada, Australia, UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden.

While so far no deaths have been reported, about 28 cases in these countries are potential cases.

The global health agency also warned that the infection is likely to spread to more nations even as it expands surveillance.

The 12 countries are not endemic for monkeypox virus, meaning the virus is not typically found unlike some countries in Central and West Africa.

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that can be transmitted to humans from animals, mainly rodents.

Human-to-human transmission can occur through close contact with respiratory secretions, skin lacerations from an infected person, or recently contaminated items (e.g., bedding).

Transmission by droplet infection usually requires longer personal contact.

The first symptoms of the disease are fever, headache, muscle and back pain and swollen lymph nodes. A rash with blisters or pustules that resemble smallpox develops one to three days after the onset of fever.

The rash usually spreads from the head to the rest of the body. Palms of hands and soles of feet may also be affected.

In the case of a confirmed infection (i.e. after a laboratory test and a doctor’s consultation) with monkeypox, the doctors are currently isolating until the last blisters have turned into crusts.

In contrast to human smallpox, which has been eradicated since 1980, monkeypox is usually much milder; most people recover within several weeks.

Overall, the prognosis can therefore be rated as favourable, although severe courses can also occur in some of those affected.

–IANS

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