By Chris Ifeanyi Ezeh
The first case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Germany. According to the Institute for Microbiology of the German Armed Forces in Munich, the virus was detected beyond doubt in a patient on Thursday. For the first time, three confirmed monkeypox cases have been detected in Germany. The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has already called for increased vigilance as a precaution. The patients had the characteristic skin changes. The institute did not give further details at first.
A large part or possibly even all of the cases concern men. Especially those returning from West Africa and men who have sex with men should consult a doctor immediately if they notice any unusual skin changes. So far, monkeypox infections in humans have mainly been known from some regions of Africa. Previously, numerous cases of infectious disease had been detected in Europe and North America. The diseases and suspected cases now registered in Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, the USA, and Canada are the West African variant, which has a milder course than the Central African variant.
What Are The Symptoms?
Human monkeypox leads to a skin rash with bumps and blisters that burst open after a while and on which scabs then form, rarely permanent scars form. The rash looks different depending on the phase and can resemble chickenpox or even syphilis. After about three to four weeks, the disease is over. It is fatal very rarely – if mostly in small children. The incubation period for monkeypox is 7 to 21 days, but the symptoms usually appear after 10 to 14 days. Then, the skin rash, headache, muscle and back pain, fever, chills, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes may appear.
Transmission of Monkeypox: Also Dangerous For Humans?
Monkeypox is a viral infection, like covid-19, which is a zoonosis. Zoonosis is an infectious disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa. However, according to current knowledge, the causative agent of monkeypox can also jump from human to human. As reported by the Robert Koch Institute, transmission from human to human is rare but possible in the case of close contact.
How Can I Protect Myself From Monkeypox?
There is no specific treatment and no vaccination against monkeypox. But medical experts believe that a smallpox vaccination protects relatively well against monkeypox. Although the monkeypox virus is not directly related to the smallpox virus, both types of smallpox fall into the same viral genus. They are therefore similar enough for the immune system to respond to infection. Thanks to a major vaccination campaign, “normal” human smallpox has been considered eradicated worldwide since 1980. However, according to the RKI, large parts of the world’s population no longer have any vaccination protection.
Difficult Search for Transmission Routes:
Human monkeypox requires very close contact for transmission from person to person. Usually, the transmission routes end after a few people. Intensive research is being done to determine whether transmission occurs through contact of an injured skin area with the smallpox secretion. In the first case that occurred about a fortnight ago, the British health authorities could trace the origin easily, as the patient had apparently brought the rare virus with him from a trip to Nigeria. The four more recent cases are much more difficult to trace because the men concerned had not previously travelled to Africa and had not been in contact with the other cases. The health authorities are intensively searching for the mysterious links between the cases, as the monkeypox viruses are not particularly easily transmitted.
Updated List of Monkeypox Cases:
– Portugal: 14 confirmed, six suspected
– UK: 9 confirmed
– Spain: 7 confirmed, up to 40 suspected
– Canada: 13 suspected
– USA: 1 confirmed (Massachusetts)
– Germany 3 confirmed
Total: 33 confirmed, 59 suspected