A case of monkeypox was also confirmed in Germany for the first time. On Friday, the Bavarian Ministry of Health announced the infection of a 26-year-old young man from Brazil who had traveled from Portugal to Munich via Spain. He has been in the Bavarian capital for about a week, having previously visited Dusseldorf and Frankfurt am Main. It is the first ever case of monkeypox in Germany; According to the Robert Koch Institute, the virus has not been detected in this country before.
The patient has only minor symptoms with slight difficulties in swallowing and a high temperature and does not yet need any special medication. He will stay in the hospital where he is expected to be contagious for three to four weeks.
According to health authorities, the virus usually causes only mild symptoms, but it can also have severe courses. In individual cases, fatal diseases are possible. The virus is primarily transmitted by direct contact or contact with contaminated materials, and it can also be transmitted via droplets in the air over shorter distances – which is likely rare.
Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach was not surprised by this first discovery: „It was only a matter of time before monkeypox was discovered in Germany.” Doctors and patients in Germany are sensitized by reports from other countries. He said he does not assume that there are a large number of unreported cases in Germany at the moment. „Based on the information available so far, we assume that the virus is not easily transmitted and that this outbreak can be contained,” Lauterbach explained. There are two different types of pathogens – at the moment it can be assumed that the West African variant, which causes less severe cycles, is currently circulating, and not the Congo variant. The virus will be analyzed in more detail for clarity.
Charity infection scientist Leif Sander sees more than 100 cases worldwide suspected or already confirmed, and it’s an extraordinarily dynamic case. „With the long incubation period, I expect another significant increase in cases,” he wrote on Twitter. It should be noted that monkeypox is not so contagious that it can be expected to spread over a wide area like Corona. „It’s very dangerous, but we are ready.”
said Fabian Linderts, founding director of the Helmholtz Institute for One Health (HIOH) in Greifswald and head of the project group, Highly Pathogenic Epidemiology at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). Cases can be well narrowed down by contact tracing and there are effective drugs and vaccines that can be used. According to Leendertz, more data is urgently needed in order to be able to understand whether the recorded cases are related or not. It is also important to decode the genome of virus material from samples of infected people in order to check whether the pathogen has changed – eg in the direction of better transmissibility.
Viruses have also been detected in France, Canada, Australia and the USA
Monkeypox infection is now being detected in more and more countries. France also reported its first case on Friday, and the virus has also been detected in the United States, Canada, Australia and thus other regions of the world. The extent to which the pathogen, which originated in Africa, has actually spread internationally is unclear. With so many cases, it is assumed that the virus has been spreading unnoticed for a while, said Dr. Norbert Brückmeer, president of the German Society for Sexually Transmitted Diseases. STI stands for sexually transmitted disease.
According to a media report, 30 cases have now been confirmed in Spain. The newspaper reported that there are also 23 suspected cases La Vanguardia On Friday, citing the Ministry of Health. In Portugal, according to the newspaper the public 23 cases have been confirmed. The person infected in Australia had previously returned from the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, the number of cases registered there rose from 9 to 20, British Health Minister Sajid Javid announced on Friday. The state bought the smallpox vaccine – at first it was not clear how much and who should be vaccinated with it.
The World Health Organization called for strict follow-up of all contacts of those affected. Clinics and residents should be made aware of the symptoms. Most or even all cases to date involve men, and in many cases they are reported to have had sexual contact with men. According to Brockmeyer, people who have sex with many different people are most likely to develop infections. The German newspaper „Eidshelf” warned of false conclusions and stigmatization in light of the issues faced by gay men. „Of course there is a superficial similarity between monkeypox and HIV at the time – another disease from Africa that affects gay men. But the comparison doesn’t fit in many other ways,” said AIDS spokesman Holger Wiech.
Unlike HIV, the virus that causes monkeypox has been known for much longer in the 1980s, and has also cured the disease on its own. „It is very important for us that panic fears and unreasonable fears do not arise here.” There are still uncertainties when assessing disease severity – for example about how well immune compromised – this could include, for example, people with HIV who have not been treated for many years – coping with the disease. The disease was named monkeypox after the pathogen was first discovered in monkeys in a Danish laboratory in 1958. Experts believe that the virus actually spreads in squirrels and rodents, while monkeys and humans are considered bogus hosts.
The first monkeypox patient was described in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. To this day, the disease is observed primarily in remote villages in the tropical rainforests of West and Central Africa. Congo was the worst affected, with more than 1,000 patients registered annually. Outside of Africa, monkeypox has only been described in a few countries; These were always imported cases.