According to experts, the increased occurrence of monkeypox in numerous countries outside of Africa is unusual. In response to the virus, Belgium is the first country in the world to introduce mandatory quarantine for infected people.
The number of monkeypox detections will continue to rise in the near future. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other experts expect this. Belgium was the first country in the world to react to the disease – and introduced a quarantine requirement for infected people.
Accordingly, those affected would have to isolate themselves for 21 days. However, the obligation does not apply to contact persons. So far, three cases of monkeypox have been reported in Belgium.
Three cases of the viral disease have now been confirmed in Germany, one in Munich and two in Berlin. In North Rhine-Westphalia, according to the State Ministry of Health, there are indications “of possible contact between people and the monkeypox virus”.
As of Saturday, the WHO reported around 90 confirmed infections and 30 suspected cases in countries where the virus, which is native to West and Central Africa, does not normally occur. According to the health authorities, 30 cases have now been confirmed in Spain alone. In addition, there are at least 23 other suspected cases, several media reported unanimously.
In order to stop the spread, it is “urgently necessary” to raise awareness of the viral disease, said the WHO in Geneva on Saturday night. In addition, cases would have to be identified and isolated comprehensively, and routes of infection would have to be traced. Experts see no reason for concern for the general public.
“Based on the knowledge available so far, we assume that the virus is not so easily transmitted and that this outbreak can be limited,” said Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD). Clemens Wendtner, chief physician of the infectiological clinic of the Schwabing hospital, where the Munich monkeypox patient is treated, says: This is a disease that, in my opinion, does not have the potential to pose a massive threat to the population.
According to the WHO, the currently identified diseases mainly – but not exclusively – affect men who have same-sex sex. In all cases currently being genetically analyzed, the pathogen is the West African variant, including the patient in Munich. Compared to the Central African variant, it generally leads to milder courses.
According to health authorities, the virus usually causes only mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain and skin rash. However, monkeypox can also have severe courses, in individual cases fatal diseases are possible. The pathogen virus is transmitted primarily through direct contact or contact with contaminated materials.
“The general assumption is that West African monkeypox has an overall mortality rate of 1 percent, which primarily affects children under the age of 16,” Wendtner said. “But you have to keep in mind that these data from Africa are not necessarily transferrable to the healthcare system in Europe or the USA. Mortality would be lower here.”
According to the doctors and authorities, the patients in Germany are doing well. The Munich patient had relatively few symptoms, said Wendtner. The condition of the two patients in Berlin is stable, as the Senate Department for Health announced on Saturday. So far it is unclear which variant these two were infected with, corresponding analyzes were running.
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