Lebanon discovers the first case of monkeypox in the Middle East at the latest

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BEIRUT – The Lebanese Ministry of Health announced on Monday that authorities have uncovered the country’s first case of monkeypox in a man who has returned from abroad and is now in isolation at home.

The ministry said the person was stable and that authorities were monitoring the person’s contacts. It did not provide further details.

Lebanon is the last in the Middle East to join countries with reported cases of monkeypox; Israel and the United Arab Emirates identified their first cases in May. The announcement came as Lebanon prepares for a busy summer season with hundreds of thousands of immigrants and tourists expected to visit.

The virus originates from primates and other wildlife and causes fever, body aches, chills and fatigue in most patients. People with severe cases can develop rashes and lesions on the face, hands and other parts of the body.

The smallpox-related disease, which first causes flu-like symptoms before progressing to a rash on the face and body, is common in parts of Central and West Africa. But this year, 1,880 infections have been reported in more than 30 countries where monkeypox is not common.

About 85% of cases are in Europe. There are no reports of deaths.

The World Health Organization has said that people with monkeypox can be contagious for up to four weeks and advised them to isolate themselves until they fully recover.

Lebanon is in the grip of the worst economic crisis in its history, and its medical sector is struggling with a shortage of medicines and medical equipment. The country is home to about 6 million people, including 1 million Syrian refugees.

Tens of thousands of Lebanese live in Africa.

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