WHO Warns Monkeypox Could ‘Accelerate’ as Cases Spread to Switzerland and Israel

Israeli and Swiss officials on Sunday confirmed monkeypox cases as the World Health Organization warned that the virus could accelerate during the summer months.

Both nations said in their respective statements that they identified at least one infected person who recently traveled. Israel said it is investigating other suspected monkeypox cases.

Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, on Twitter, explained that “this is a disease, not a pandemic.”

“This is a known disease with—usually—light symptoms that is not similar in any way to the coronavirus,” he wrote, adding that his agency is prepared to deal with the virus.

In Switzerland, the person consulted a doctor because they had a fever and a rash and felt poorly, the canton said, adding that the person was in isolation at home and the illness was developing in a “benign” way, officials said. A person they had been in contact with has been informed, Swiss officials added.

WHO has said that so far, 80 monkeypox cases have been reported worldwide in North America, Europe, and Australia. The virus is common in West and Central Africa.

Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, told news outlets over the weekend that cases could increase in a dramatic way.

“As we enter the summer season … with mass gatherings, festivals, and parties, I am concerned that transmission could accelerate,” he said.

Regarding the Israeli case, Horowitz did not give details of the vaccine but the smallpox vaccine can also protect against monkeypox. The case is a man in his 30s who had returned from a trip to western Europe, according to the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov), where he is quarantined and in mild condition.

Weighing in on the rise in cases Sunday, President Joe Biden said that Americans should be concerned about the virus, though he admitted that his advisers “haven’t told me the level of exposure yet, but it is something that everybody should be concerned about,” adding, “We’re working on it hard to figure out what we do and what vaccine, if any, may be available for it.”

“But it is a concern in the sense that if it were to spread, it’s consequential. That’s all they have told me,” Biden continued.

Monkeypox is mostly reported in Central and West Africa, where hundreds of cases have been reported on a yearly basis. The monkeypox virus was first reported in laboratory monkeys in 1958, and the first human cases were found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the early 1970s.

Symptoms of monkeypox—which is related to the smallpox virus—include fever, body aches, and rashes. Smallpox, which has been responsible for a number of pandemics throughout history, presents more severe symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a recent update that regarding cases reported in the United Kingdom, there was a “temporally clustered group of cases involving four people.”

“Some evidence suggests that cases among [homosexual males] may be epidemiologically linked; the patients in this cluster were identified at sexual health clinics,” the agency said. “This is an evolving investigation and public health authorities hope to learn more about routes of exposure in the coming days.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times