BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s health ministry said Monday that authorities found the country’s first case of monkeypox in a person who had returned from abroad and is currently under home quarantine.
The ministry said the person is in stable condition and authorities are tracing the person’s contacts. It did not provide further details.
Lebanon is the latest country in the Middle East to join the reporting countries of monkeypox cases; Israel and the United Arab Emirates detected their first cases in May. The news comes as Lebanon prepares for a busy summer, with hundreds of thousands of expats and tourists expected to visit.
The virus, which originated in primates and other wild animals, causes fever, body aches, chills and fatigue in most patients. People with severe disease may 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 usually found.
About 85% of cases occur in Europe. No deaths were reported.
The World Health Organization says people with monkeypox can be contagious for up to four weeks and has advised them to isolate until fully recovered.
Lebanon is in the midst of the worst economic crisis in its modern history, and its medical sector has been battling shortages of medicines and medical equipment. About 6 million people live in the country, including 1 million Syrian refugees.
Thousands of Lebanese live in Africa.