Germany is now also reporting the first case of monkeypox. There is currently no special vaccination against it. We explain how well people who are already vaccinated against smallpox are protected.

Monkeypox has arrived in Germany. Originally it was probably a case brought into Great Britain from Nigeria, meanwhile evidence and suspected cases of monkeypox are being reported from more and more countries. The same in this country. Munich doctors report the first case on Friday.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and doctors have not yet seen any reason to panic – but they still urge attention. Although the virus usually only triggers mild courses, in rare cases it can also result in severe courses.

But there is good news for those who have already been vaccinated against smallpox. As physician Christoph Specht “RTL” said, the general smallpox vaccination reliably protects against monkeypox. And that despite the fact that the two diseases are not related to each other. “Anyone who has been vaccinated against smallpox does not get sick,” said Specht. Since the smallpox vaccination was mandatory until 1976 (in the GDR even until 1982), all those born before that could assume good protection.

Norbert Brockmeyer, President of the German STI Society (STI stands for sexually transmitted infections), has already expressed concerns in this regard. “Unfortunately, we have a huge population in Germany that has not been vaccinated against smallpox – especially in the sexually active age,” he said.

The potential for infections caused by the pathogen is therefore significantly greater than it was 20 years ago. Depending on further developments, smallpox vaccinations should be considered.

Smallpox was eradicated in 1980. However, there is still the possibility of vaccination, emphasizes Gerd Sutter, Chair of Virology, Institute for Infectious Medicine and Zoonoses at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.

For example, smallpox vaccines are approved in Europe, Canada and the USA. These are modern and safety-tested. They were based on a non-replicating virus. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), such vaccines could be offered to contacts. So far, however, there is no new vaccination recommendation from the Standing Vaccination Commission.

But according to Sutter, not only vaccinations could help against the virus: There is also “the possibility of therapy with an approved orthopox virus-specific drug.”

The first reported monkeypox 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. The Bundeswehr Institute for Microbiology in Munich had previously announced that it had detected the first monkeypox case in the Federal Republic in the patient on Thursday. “Further close contacts are currently being identified by the health department of the city of Munich,” said Bavarian Health Minister Klaus Holetschek. “They are explained in detail and informed about possible symptoms, hygiene measures and transmission routes.”