Israel confirms first case of local monkeypox infection

The Ministry of Health announced three new cases of monkeypox on Monday, including the first confirmed case of local contamination in Israel.

The three cases all affect men from central Israel between the ages of 30 and 60, according to a ministry statement.

The ministry did not provide any further details on the case of the infected man in Israel or which countries the other two men were said to have contracted the disease.

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In addition to the newly diagnosed cases, there are a total of nine confirmed cases of the rare disease in Israel, with the first case being confirmed on May 20.

“The Health Ministry reminds that anyone with a fever or blisters should see a doctor after returning from abroad or after close contact with a person suspected of having monkeypox,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The announcement of the new cases comes as the World Health Organization is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on June 23 to decide whether to qualify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.

This designation is the highest alarm the UN agency can raise.

Up until these few months, monkeypox was generally confined to west and central Africa. It is now present on several continents.

The majority – 84% – of the confirmed cases are from the European region, followed by the Americas, Africa, the eastern Mediterranean region and the western Pacific region.

The WHO estimates that the actual number of cases is likely higher.

Israeli health officials have downplayed the risk of the virus, with a senior health official calling for calm during a briefing last month, saying recent cases did not pose a serious public health risk.

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