The first case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Germany. As the Bundeswehr Institute for Microbiology announced on Friday in Munich, the virus was unequivocally detected in a patient on Thursday. In two countries, herds of monkeypox are now suspected
Because of several cases of monkeypox in other European countries, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) only called for vigilance on Thursday. In particular, travelers returning from West Africa and men who have sex with men should consult a doctor immediately if they have any unusual skin changes.
The patient in Germany is a 26-year-old from Brazil. This was announced by the Bavarian Ministry of Health on Friday.
He traveled from Portugal via Spain to Germany and has been in the Bavarian capital for about a week. He had previously been to Düsseldorf and Frankfurt am Main. The patient is now being isolated in a ward at the Munich Clinic Schwabing, the ministry said.
Since the beginning of May, dozens of suspected and confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported in several European and North American countries. After the first cases in Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden and France as well as the USA and Canada also reported confirmed and suspected cases.
Symptoms of monkeypox in humans include fever, headache, muscle aches, and a rash that often starts on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body.
The Spanish authorities are currently investigating the assumption that gay pride parties on the holiday island of Gran Canaria could have been another source of infection for monkeypox. The newspaper “El País” reported on Saturday, citing sources in the health sector.
About 80,000 people from Spain and many other countries took part in the “Maspalomas Pride” from May 5 to 15, which was mainly attended by gays, the newspaper reported. Men from Italy, from Madrid and from the neighboring island of Tenerife, where the virus was detected, are said to have taken part in the celebrations. Intimate contacts are a possible transmission route for the virus. The authorities closed the “Sauna Paraíso” in Madrid on Friday because several men are said to have been infected there as well.
So far, 30 cases of monkeypox have been detected in Spain. There are also another 23 suspected cases, the media reported on Friday. The local newspaper “Público” wrote about the situation in Portugal that 23 cases have now been confirmed. The first infected person recorded in Germany had traveled from Portugal via Spain to Germany – but it was initially unclear whether he was infected in one of the two countries.
The monkeypox cases in Belgium are apparently linked to a large fetish festival in Antwerp. Organizers of the Darklands Festival, held in early May, said on Friday that Belgian authorities had linked the contagion to the festival. Belgium has so far officially confirmed three cases of monkeypox. In Spain, a gay sauna was forced to close temporarily over a suspected link to a monkeypox outbreak.
Most people recover from the disease within a few weeks, and death is rare. The disease, which is mainly found in central and west Africa, is usually transmitted through close contact with infected rodents. Transmission from person to person is rare and only possible with close contact, but can occur through contact with bodily fluids or scabs of the infected, presumably also during sexual activities.
In Nigeria, monkeypox infections have been increasingly diagnosed in humans since 2017. According to the RKI, however, monkeys are not the reservoir animals in the African endemic areas.