Egypt records first case of monkeypox

Health Ministry says the patient, a citizen of a European country, is in a stable condition

Mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. CDC via AP
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The first case of monkeypox has been recorded in Egypt, the country’s Health Ministry said on Wednesday night.

The man, 42, is in quarantine, the ministry said.

He is reportedly a citizen of a European country "which he visits frequently", it said.

The patient's condition is stable, the ministry said, and due protocol was carried out with those who had recently come into contact with him.

It said it was able to record the case because of its constant monitoring for monkeypox.

The World Health Organisation said in August that 33 cases of the illness had been recorded in six Mena countries at the time: 16 in the UAE; six in Lebanon; six in Saudi Arabia; three in Qatar; one in Morocco; and most recently one case in Iran.

While the most affected group remains men who engage in same-gender relations, the WHO said that some women and children in its Eastern Mediterranean region had also been affected by the disease.

Mainly spread through skin-to-skin contact, monkeypox can also be transmitted through objects touched by an infected person.

Symptoms of the illness vary but are for the most part quite mild. They include rashes, fever, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, headaches and muscle aches.

Most patients recover at home by resting and taking medication for the symptoms. But in some rare cases, the disease can worsen and lead to death.

Vaccines for the illness are in short supply and until more are made available, the WHO has suggested inoculations for the most at-risk groups, mainly healthcare workers.

The latest US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention data shows 54,911 people have been infected with the illness worldwide and 15 have died.

Although it has been around since the 1970s, more research is needed to fully understand the virus, the WHO said.

Updated: September 07, 2022, 9:37 PM