Israel and Switzerland have confirmed their first cases of monkeypox, joining several European and North American countries in detecting a disease that is endemic to parts of Africa.
In recent weeks, more than 100 confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox have been detected in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden as well as in the US, Canada and Australia, raising fears the virus may be spreading.
The outbreak in countries where the virus is not endemic is highly unusual, according to scientists.
A spokesman for Tel Aviv’s Ichilov Hospital told AFP on Saturday that a 30-year-old man, who recently returned from western Europe with monkeypox symptoms, had tested positive for the virus.
The Israeli health ministry said on Friday that the man had been exposed to a person with monkeypox abroad and that he remained in isolation at Ichilov Hospital in mild condition.
Switzerland also confirmed its first detected case of monkeypox on Saturday, a person in the canton of Bern who contracted the virus through “close physical contact abroad”, the canton said in a statement.